In the Federal High Court located in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Judge A.T. Mohammed has arraigned oil magnate Azubuike Uzoma of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Zonal Command for alleged illegal dealing in petroleum products totaling N24,310,000 (twenty four million, three hundred and ten thousand naira).
On October 25, 2023, he was charged with three offenses related to unlawful petroleum product dealing and money laundering.
Within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, sometime in June 2022, you, Azubuike Uzoma (Trading under the name & style of ALVIN D INTERNATIONAL), took possession of the total sum of N23,310,000.00 (Twenty Three Million, Three Hundred and Ten Thousand Naira) paid into your account with Keystone Bank Limited, when you reasonably ought to have known that the said fund formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity, to wit: Illegal dealing in petroleum products and thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 18(2)(d) of the Money Laundering Act.
But once the accusations were read to Azubuike Uzoma, he entered a not guilty plea.
After the defendant entered his plea, Abdulrahman Abubakar, the prosecution’s attorney, asked the court to set a trial date and remand the defendant to the Correctional Service while the case was ongoing.
While C J Nmerem, the defendant’s attorney, did not disagree with the prosecution’s prayers, he did ask the court to give his client bail so he could get ready for trial.
Following that, Judge Mohammed granted the defendant bail in the amount of N1,000,000.00 (one million naira) and two sureties in an equivalent amount. The other surety must be a member of the defendant’s family, and one of the sureties must be a public official working for the Rivers State government with at least grade level 14. The sureties must provide the court with two recent passport photos and provide addresses that can be verified.
The judge postponed the case until January 22, 2024, when the trial is scheduled to begin.
The case against Azubuike began when Commission agents detained him in Ndoni Community, Onelga Local Government Area, Rivers State, on suspicion of money laundering and unlawful trade in petroleum products.