Corruption and Underdevelopment

Alleged N3b Fraud: Court acquits Ochuko Momoh, five others

By Paul Michael, Abuja

Justice Taiwo Taiwo of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has discharged and acquitted Ochuko Momoh, the wife of a former Managing Director of Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, Haruna Momoh, of a case of alleged fraud.

Ochuko and five others have been standing trial for an alleged N3 billion fraud by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

However, in a judgment delivered on Thursday, Justice Taiwo acquitted Ochuko and the other five accused on money laundering related charges.

Justice Taiwo, who held that the prosecution failed to discharge the burden of proving its case against the defendants beyond all reasonable doubt, also ordered the discharge of an earlier interim forfeiture order made against Ochuko Momoh and her two firms – Blaid Construction and Blaid Farms.

The Judge noted that the case of the prosecutors was based on mere speculation and conjecture.

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The ICPC had brought Ochuko Momoh alongside Blessing Azuka-Agozi, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Energopol Nigeria Limited, Blaid Construction Limited, and Blaid Farms Limited before a Federal High Court in Abuja to be tried on a 22-count charge.

The ICPC, in the charge, marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/278/2019, accused Ochuko of laundering funds estimated at N3 billion through her companies – Blaid Construction and Blaid Farms.

Azuka Agozi was alleged to have reneged on her promise to provide ICPC’s investigators with documents relating to the contracts Energopol Nigeria Limited allegedly executed for the PPMC, for which it was allegedly paid huge sums.

The ICPC accused Stanbic IBTC of failing to report suspicious transactions in the accounts of Blaid Construction and Blaid Farms to the relevant authorities as required by law.

In May 2019, a Federal High Court, Abuja, presided over by Justice Binta Nyako, faulted the decision of ICPC to freeze Blaid Construction Limited and its director, Mrs Ochuko Momoh’s bank accounts.

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