Mohammed Kuchazi, a Commercial Director of the Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) was re-arraigned at the Abuja division of the Federal High Court on Monday, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Mr Kuchazi is being prosecuted alongside his company, Kore Holdings Limited on an eight-count charge bordering on failure to comply with regulations of the special control unit against money laundering (SCUML) as required by the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Zainab Abubakar granted Mr Kuchazi bail following his plea of ‘not guilty’ to the charges proffered against him by the EFCC. The Judge also adjourned the matter till February 1, 2022, for trial.
What happened in court?
Bala Sanga, the prosecution counsel, told the court that the matter was for re-arraignment as the previous trial judge handling the case had been transferred outside that jurisdiction.
Mr Sanga requested that the charges be read to the defendant to enable him take his plea.
Some of the counts read:
“That you Muhammed Kuchazi, being a director of and signatory to the bank account of Kore Holdings Limited, sometime in May 2014, in Abuja, within the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court, aided Kore Holdings Limited in failing to develop programmes to combat money laundering and other illegal acts, to wit: failure to designate at management level a compliance officer within any strata of Kore Holdings Limited, contrary to section 16(1) (f) read together with section 9(1) (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and you thereby committed and offence contrary to section 18 (a) of the same act and punishable under section 16 (2) (b) of the same Act.”
“That you Kore Holdings Limited, being a Designated Non-Financial Institution; Muhammed Kuchazi, being a Director of and signatory to the bank account of Kore Holdings Limited, sometimes in May 2014, in Abuja, within the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court, failed to comply with the requirements of submitting, to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, a declaration of the activities of Kore Holdings Limited contrary to Section 16(1) (f) read together with section 5(1) (a) (ii) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act.”
Mr Kuchazi pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
The prosecuting counsel then told the judge that the defendant had been granted bail by Justice Giwa Ogunbanjo, the former trial judge. Justice Zainab then granted him bail on the same terms as the former trial judge and adjourned the matter till February 1, 2022.
In case you missed it
- Nairametrics had reported that the court issued an arrest warrant for Neil Murray over his alleged involvement in the P&ID scandal.
- Nairametrics also reported that a British National, James Nolan, was re-arraigned by the EFCC alongside two others on an amended 32-count charge bordering on money laundering.
What you should know
- P&ID, an Irish engineering company, was awarded $6.6 billion in an arbitration decision over a failed project to build a gas processing plant in the Southern Nigerian city of Calabar. With the accumulated interest payments, the sum topped $9 billion.
- On August 29, 2019 former EFCC boss Ibrahim Magu disclosed that the Commission had commenced investigation into the circumstances leading to the said arbitration award. He then vowed that the Commission will investigate the transactions and bring anyone found wanting to justice.
- On September 19, 2019, Justice Ekwo sentenced P&ID to wind up in Nigeria and its properties, forfeited to the federal government.
- Mr Kuchazi had been convicted in September 2019 alongside P&ID’s director of process, Adamu Usman after pleading guilty to the 11-count charges against them by EFCC which borders on obtaining by false pretence; dealing in petroleum products without an appropriate license.
- Mr Kuchazi was convicted based on the offences in the first 10 counts of the charges that had his name while Mr Usman was convicted for offences in the 11 counts.