Commercial Law

EFCC arraigns P&ID Commercial Director, Kuchazi over money laundering charges 

By Olalekan Awojodu

Abuja

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja Monday ruled that the Commercial Director, Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) Muhammed Kuchazi be detained at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Correctional facility.

Kuchazi is currently standing trial before Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Kuchazi was arraigned alongside his company, Kore Holdings Limited, on eight counts bordering on money laundering.

While the company is the 1st defendant in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/319/2020, Kuchazi is the 2nd defendant.

Kuchazi, a sole signatory of the company, would have benefitted the sum of 300 million dollars in the P&ID’s 9.6 billion dollars judgment deal against Nigeria should the case succeed.

But when the charges were read to him, Kuchazi pleaded not guilty to all.

While opening his argument on Monday, the EFCC counsel, Bala Sanga, prayed the court to remand him in Kuje Correctional Centre, pending the date for his trial.

But Kuchazi’s counsel, Aniah Ikwen, objected and moved an oral bail application for his client.

Ikwen who hinged his reason on medical grounds said his client was bleeding and needed to be taken back to National Hospital for treatment.

At that point, Sanga objected further arguing that the court should not allow room for oral application for bail after arraignment.

In a short ruling, Justice Ogunbanjo aligned with the Prosecution, saying he cannot enjoy administration bail for a different matter.

Okwen, however, urged the court to allow him to be kept at the EFCC custody, while praying the court for a short time to file the bail application.

Justice Giwa-Ogunbanjo held; “I am going to detain him in EFCC facility and grant date for bail application,”

After the ruling, both parties did not raised any objections and the Judge subsequently fixed hearing of the bail application for Feb. 4 while trial would commence by April 27 and April 28.

 

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