Court remands George Turnah in prison for N3bn fraud
A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has remanded a godson to former President Goodluck Jonathan in prison for his alleged role in a N3bn scam.
The accused person, George Turnah, is also a former Special Adviser to Dan Abia, erstwhile Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission.
Turnah, who was given the award of Member of the Order of the Niger by Jonathan, was first arrested in March when the EFCC allegedly traced about N2bn to his bank accounts.
He was on Tuesday arraigned alongside seven companies on 12 counts bordering on obtaining money by false pretences, money laundering and abuse of office to the tune of N3, 094, 268, 235.69.
The seven companies arraigned with Turnah are: El Godmas Global Services Limited; Turnoil and Gas Nigeria Limited; Kolo Creek Petroleum Development Limited; Celtic Pride Consult and Events; Yenagoa Mall, Adaka Boro Marine Services Limited and Sugarland Intergrated farms Nigeria Limited.
Some of the charges read in part, “That you, George Turnah Alabh, El-Godmas Global Services Ltd., Celtic Pride Consult and Events, Geohan Telecommunications Nigeria Ltd. did conspire among yourselves to comit felony to wit: money laundering, contrary to section 18(a) of the money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.
“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 N810m which said sum was stolen from the funds made available to the Niger Delta Youth Initiative by the Niger Delta Development Commission for hosting the 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.”
When the charges were read to the defendants, they pleaded not guilty.
Justice Ibrahim Watilat dismissed an oral bail application made by Turnah and ordered that he be remanded in prison custody.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Wednesday, defence counsel, Prof. Amuda Kanika (SAN), made an oral application for bail for Turnah.
According to Kanika, bail could be argued orally, adding “Turnah holds a privileged title of Member of the Order of Niger and would not jump bail.”
Justice Watilat refused to oblige the defence counsel’s prayers and directed him to formally apply for bail for his client. He also ordered Turnah to be remanded in prison custody.
Justice Watilat adjourned the matter till May 30, 2017 for hearing of bail application.