Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Alleged N702m Fraud: Court orders Doyin Okupe to enter defence

Rayyan Alhassan is a graduate of Journalism and Mass Communication at Sikkim Manipal University, Ghana. He is the acting Managing Editor at the Daily Nigerian newspaper, a position he has held for the past 3 years. He can be reached via [email protected], or, or @Rayyan88 on Twitter.
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Doyin Okupe, a former Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan, has been ordered by a Federal High Court, Abuja to enter his defence in a N702million fraud charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

A statement by Head, Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, said  making the order on December 12, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu while ruling on a no-case submission brought before the court by the defendant, held that the EFCC had no doubt established a prima facie case against him and the two companies, Value Trust Investment and Abraham Telecoms, on all the charges brought against them which makes it necessary for them to defend themselves.

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“Having considered the evidence placed before the court vis-a-vis the charges, I am of the view that there is need for the defendants to make an explanation,” the trial judge held.

He added that  there was sufficient evidence linking the defendants to “these offences which require the court to hear the defendants’ side of the story”.

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Justice Ojukwu further held that: “There is reason to continue the hearing and therefore, the no-case submission canvassed is not sustainable and therefore overruled”.

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Mr Okupe is facing a 59-count charge bordering on money laundering and criminal diversion of funds to the tune of N702,000,000 (Seven Hundred and Two Million Naira).

One of the charges reads: “That you, Dr. Doyin Okupe, being the Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan from July 2012 to May 2015, and being the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, and a signatory to the bank account of Abrahams Telecoms Limited, on or about the 3rd October, 2014 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, directly took possession or control of the sum of N35million, transferred to the account of Abrahams Telecoms Ltd from the account of the Office of the National Security Adviser with the Central Bank of Nigeria, purporting to be for special services when you reasonably ought to have known that the said fund formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity.”

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The matter was adjourned until February 24 and 25, 2020 for the defence to open its case.

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