George Turnah | EFCC arraigns former presidents relative for Fraud. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned George Turnah, a former coordinator of the Goodluck Jonathan/Namadi Sambo campaign organization before the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers state over alleged fraud. George Turnah and seven companies were on Tuesday, May 23, slammed by the EFCC with a 12- count charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretence, money laundering and abuse of office.
Part of the charges against the accused read: “That you George Turnah Alabh, Kolo Creek Development Ltd, Adaka Boro Marine Services Nigeria Ltd, Sugarland Integrated Farms Nig. Ltd, and others at large on or about the 26th day of January, 2015, at Port Harcourt, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did convert the sum of Eight Hundred and Ten Million naira (N810,000,000.00) which said sum was stolen from the funds made available to the Niger Delta Youth Initiative by the Niger Delta Development Commission for hosting Niger Delta Youths and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2)(b) of the Money laundering Prohibition Act 2011 as amended, and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.” The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to charges after the charges were read.
The prosecution counsel, Olatunji, applied for a date for trial and that the Turnah be remanded in EFCC’s custody for ease of access to EFCC’s investigators who are working on other matters involving the defendant. Olatunji opposed any prospects of bail for the Turnah, stressing that he jumped the administrative bail earlier granted him by the EFCC.
Responding, counsel to the defendant, Prof Kanike, orally applied for bail for Turnah on the basis that the accused is holding a privilege title of MON (Member of the Order of Nigeria). “He has never jumped bail and we can make oral application for bail without filing a formal application. The purpose of bail is for the defendant to face his trial so that he will not be able to run away,” Kanike said.
He opposed the prayer of the prosecution that the first defendant be remanded in EFCC’s custody. The presiding judge, Justice Watila adjourned the matter to 23 May, 2017 for ruling on bail application. He ordered that the defendant be remanded in EFCC’s custody. NAIJ.com recalls that following a search of George Turnah’s residence by officials of the EFCC and soldiers, he was invited by the anti-graft agency for questioning over alleged graft. Turnah, believed to be 33 years old, is a godson of former President Goodluck Jonathan and former SA to the managing director of NDDC.
EFCC had reportedly ransacked a mansion owned by the accused. Heavily armed operatives and soldiers reportedly stormed the palatial building located at Kolo Creek, Ogbia local government at about 5pm on Friday, February 3 and searched the entire building till 10pm Sahara Reporters reports that several bank accounts relating to Mr. Turnah, including individual and corporate accounts as well as his children’s Education Insurance Account, have been frozen by EFCC.