Justice Adeniyi Ademola of Federal High Court, Abuja, has reserved ruling on whether or not to try former Bayelsa State governor, Timipre Sylva and others based on a fresh 50-count charge brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The judge, after listening to parties’ arguments on the notices of preliminary objection raised by the accused persons, said they will be informed in August, during the court’s vacation, about the date fixed for ruling.
Listed with Sylva in the charges are – Francis Okokuro, Gbenga Balogun, Samuel Ogbuku, Marlin Maritime Limited, Eat Catering Services Limited and Haloween-Blue Construction Logistics.
Sylva and the others are being accused in the fresh charges of using three companies – Marlin Maritime Limited, Eat Catering Services Ltd, and Haloween-Blue Construction and Logistics Ltd, to move N19.2 billion from Bayelsa State coffers between 2009 and 2012.
They were said to have perpetrated the fraud under false pretence of using the withdrawn money to augment salaries of the state government workers.
EFCC had filed the fresh charges shortly after a judge of the same court, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in a ruling on June 10, dismissed an earlier charge brought against Sylva and the others, by the anti-corruption agency.
Justice Mohammed held that EFCC abused court process when it sought to maintain two similar charges against the accused persons.