Senator Stella Oduah, the former Minister of Aviation, faced a 25-count charge before the Federal High Court in Abuja, as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alleged her involvement in laundering public funds amounting to about 7.9 billion naira. She is co-accused with eight others, including Gloria Odita, Nwosu Emmanuel Nnamdi, and several companies.
During the court proceedings, Oduah and her co-defendants pleaded not guilty to all charges. The EFCC accused her and Odita of transferring substantial sums from one account to another, knowing or reasonably ought to know that the funds were proceeds of unlawful activities. They were further charged with opening anonymous private banking nominee accounts in both naira and U.S. dollars.
Despite the charge being filed in 2020, the trial was delayed due to a petition addressed to the former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN. Following Malami’s review, the EFCC received approval to proceed with the trial.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, the presiding judge, granted the defendants administrative bail and directed the EFCC to transfer the case file to the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation for diligent prosecution. The trial is scheduled to resume on October 17.
Earlier, Justice Ekwo expressed concerns over threats to his life due to repeated delays in the case. He vowed not to proceed until those responsible for the threats were identified and presented before the court.
Despite the EFCC’s inability to unmask the perpetrators of the threats, the trial proceeded as planned, with the EFCC instructed to step back from the prosecution.