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Dasuki EFCC slams fresh N36.8bn fraud charges on ex-NSA's aide

Ashinze, a colonel, and eight others were arraigned alongside five companies accused of allegedly diverting huge sums from the NSA's office.

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned Nicholas Ashinze, a former special assistant to the embattled former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki and three others.

Ashinze together with an Australian, Wolfgang Reinl, Edidiong Idiong and Sagir D. Mohammed were arraigned on Wednesday, November 26.

The four accused were brought before Justice  Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja on a 13-count charge of corruption and money laundering to the tune of N36.8 billion.

Ashinze, a colonel, and his co-accused were arraigned alongside five companies accused of allegedly diverting huge sums from the office of the former NSA.

The companies are: Geonel Integrated Services Limited, Unity Continental Nigeria Limited, Helpline Organization, Vibrant Resource Limited and Sologic Integrated Services Limited.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to all the charges brought against them.

In view of their plea, counsel to the EFCC, I. Uket, said the Commission is ready for trial to commence immediately, pointing that its witnesses are present in court.

"If the court is ready, we are also ready to produce our first witness as we have our witnesses in court," he said.

But Ashinze’s counsel, Ernest Nwoye, told the court that he has a pending application for the bail of his client.

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He urged the court to grant the defendant bail on self recognition having earlier been admitted to bail by an FCT High Court.

Counsels to other defendants also prayed the court to grant them bail, noting that they know the implication of jumping bail.

Justice Kolawole therefore held that the charges are all bailable adding that: "since each of the defendants has been on one administrative bail or the other, my sixth judicial sense informs me that I adopt the terms and conditions of the bail granted to the defendants by the EFCC and my learned brothers in the FCT High Courts."

The judge assured that the case will be granted accelerated hearing and urged the prosecution to pick five days in the new year for trial.

The case was adjourned to January 23, February 1 and 14; and March 7 and 21, 2017.

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