Prosecutor’s Absence Stalls Trial Of 606 Auto Boss Over Alleged N209M Fraud

* Mr. Samusideen Babafemi Sarumi

 

 

 

Story By Gbenga Ogunbufunmi

 

 

The trial of an alleged fraud syndicate, Mr. Samusideen Babafemi Sarumi, before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, could not go on today due to the absence of the prosecuting counsel.

Samusideen was charged before the court presided over by Justice Chuka Obiozor, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for allegedly laundering a whooping sum of N209 million.

The defendant, who is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of 606 Auto Limited, 606 Music Limited and Splash Off Entertainment Limited, is currently facing a three count-charge of conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of N209 million alongside one Saeed Hammoud Hussain, a Lebanese who has fled the country.

During his arraignment on November 14, 2019, the EFCC through one of its prosecutors, M. K. Hussain, alleged in a charge marked FHC/L/144c/19, that Samusideen, who is the Chief Executive Officer of 606 Auto Limited, 606 Music Limited and Splash Off Entertainment Limited and one Saeed Hammoud Hussain, said to be at large, committed the offence between 2016 and 2018.

The EFCC alleged the defendant took possession of eight vehicles valued N135 million and a boat valued N104 million, which he reasonably ought to have  known  forms part of the proceeds of an organised criminal group.

The offences according to the prosecutor, M. K. Hussain, contravened sections 18(a) and15(2)(d)(6) and punishable under sections 15(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended).

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge and he was granted bail in the sum of N100 million and some other terms, after his lawyer, Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN) argued his bail application.

However, the defendant’s trial was stalled due to COVID-19 Pandemic.

At the resumed trial today, the prosecuting agency, the EFCC was not represented by any lawyer.

However, the defendant’s counsel, Dr. Banire (SAN) draw the attention of the presiding judge to the absence of prosecutor, despite being informed  of today’s date.

Banire (SAN) who expressed surprise due to the absence of prosecution counsel, also told the court that no lawyer represented the EFCC when last the matter came up on February 10, 2020.

But the presiding Judge, Justice Obiozor, told the defence counsel that the adjournment witnessed in the case was due to COVID-19 pandemic. The judge however stated that in the spirit of fair hearing, a hearing notice should be issued and served on the prosecuting agency, while he fixed November 19, 2020, for trial.

The charges Against the defendant reads:

“That you Samusideen Babafemi Saruml and Saeed Hammoud Hussain (now at large) sometimes between 2016 to 2018 In Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court committed a felony to wit: money laundering and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the some Act.

“That you, Samusideen Babafemi Sarumi and Saeed Hammoud Hussain (now at large) sometimes between 2016 to 2018 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court took possession of property to wit: Eight (8) vehicles valued at N135,000,000.00 (One Hundred and Thirty Five Million Naira Only) which you reasonably ought to have known that the said vehicles forms port of the proceeds of an organised criminal group and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2) (d) and (6) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

“That you, Samusideen Babafemi Sarumi and Saeed Hammoud Hussein (now at large) sometimes between 2016 to 2018 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court took possession of a boot valued at N104,000,000.00 (One Hundred and Four Million Naira Only) which you reasonably ought to have known that the said boat forms part of the proceeds of an organised criminal group and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2)(d) and (6) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the some Act”.

The defendant is also facing another money laundering trial before the  court presided over by Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, in the charge marked FHC/L/374c/19.

He was arraigned before the court on November 4, for laundering the sum of N207 million for some fraud syndicate whose name were in the list released by United State of America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Among those said the defendant laundered the money for are: Omojadesola Shittu Allison, Abiola Kayode Ayorind also known as ABK, Bartholomew Oluchukwu Ezeudoko and Amobi Uchenna E.

He was also alleged to have committed the offence between year 2016 and 2018

 

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