The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned Doyin Okupe, a spokesman of the Atiku Abubakar presidential campaign organisation, over allegations of fraud.
The comission arraigned Okupe before a federal high court sitting in Abuja on Monday, on a 59-count charge bordering on alleged money laundering and diversion of funds to the tune of N702 million.
Okupe, who was a media aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, was arraigned before Ijeoma Ojukwu, a judge, along with two companies – Value Trust Investment Ltd and Abrahams Telecoms Ltd.
One of the counts 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 Ltd, 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 N35 million, 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”.
He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges after which Tolu Babaleiye, his counsel, prayed the court to admit the defendant to bail.
Babaleiye urged the court to admit the defendant to bail on self recognizance adding that “he will not jump bail as he is well known”.
But Ibrahim Audu, prosecuting counsel, argued against the bail, saying “the defendant was given administrative bail after he volunteered his statement thereafter, he was nowhere to be found until December 2018 in Lagos”.
He also asked the court to take into consideration, “the gravity of the punishment in the event of conviction on the charges brought against the defendant”.
Thereafter, the judge granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N100 million with one surety in like sum.
He said the surety must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court, and must have landed properties which must also be within the jurisdiction of the court, among other requirements.
The judge subsequently adjourned to February 27 for commencement of trial.