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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday, February 19,2024 arraigned Husaini Mohammed Auwal and his company, Humak Global Business Links before Justice J.O Abdulmalik of the Federal High Court, Abuja for  alleged illegal financial transactions to the tune of N998,421,564.00 (Nine Hundred and Ninety Eight Million, Four Hundred and Twenty-one Thousand, Five Hundred and Sixty-four Naira only).

EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, Dele Oyewale, said in a statement on Monday that Auwal and his company’s  arraignment on a six-count charge bordered on  Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) of criminal conspiracy, money laundering and obtaining money by false pretence.

Count one of the charge reads: “That you Husaini Mohammed Auwal, being the managing director of Humak Global Business Link on or between 2016 and 2017 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honorable court, did carry on, other financial business, to wit: bureau de change business without a valid licence issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria contrary to sections 57 and 59 (5) of the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act, 2020.”

Count two reads: “That you Husaini Mohammed Auwal, being the managing director of Humak Global Business Link and Humak Global Business Link on or about 10th August, 2020 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court received a total inflow of N47,250,000 (Forty-seven Million, Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Naira only) from Khadab Ventures and Trust Limited into Humak Global Business Link account, domiciled in First City Monument Bank with account number 4497159015 in excess of N10,000,000.00 (Ten Million Naira) which you failed to make a report to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and thereby commit an offence contrary to Sections 11 (1) and (3) of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022.”

He pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges when they were read to him, following which prosecution counsel, Deborah Ademu Eteh asked the court for a trial date and for the defendant to be remanded in a Correctional facility. The defence counsel,  however,  called the attention of the court to an existing bail application and prayed the court to grant the defendant bail on liberal terms.

 Justice Abdulmalik adjourned the matter till February 23, 2024 for hearing of bail application and March 21, 2024 for trial. She also ordered that the defendant be remanded in EFCC`s custody until the adjourned date.

Auwal was arrested by the EFCC following intelligence received by the Commission on April 28, 2022 from the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit ,NFIU, which showed that the defendant was allegedly receiving huge wire transfers from diverse entities through his company`s account and would promptly transfer such funds to various accounts, violating the daily transfer threshold. Again, the defendant was also allegedly operating a bureau de change without an appropriate licence.

Meanwhile, the ongoing trial of Emmanuella Eteta Ita, Head of Stakeholders Unit of the Federal Inland Revenue Services, FIRS and her Surestart School Limited was stalled on Monday, February 19, 2024 due to the absence of defence counsel, Paul Erokoro, SAN.

Ita and Surestart School Limited are standing trial before Justice F. Giwa Ogunbanjo of the Federal High Court, Abuja on a 25-count charge bordering on criminal misappropriation, diversion, criminal breach of trust and money laundering to the tune of N2billion.

At Monday`s resumed sitting, the prosecution geared to continue with the cross-examination of prosecution witnesses when the court was informed of the absence of Erokoro.  His absence was linked to the burial of the former governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN,  who was his classmate.

Justice Ogunbanjo adjourned the matter till March 18, 20 and 21, 2024.

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