13th October, 2010
Mr. Adeyanju Bodunde, former aide to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, was this morningÂ arraigned before Justice Adamu Bello of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, Nigeria,Â in connection with the $180 million Halliburton bribery scandal.
Bodunde was alleged to have received about $5 million from both Mrs. George Mark and Mr.Â Hans George-Christ who were implicated in the controversial sharing of bribe money toÂ Nigerian top government officials between 2002 and 2003.
The former presidential aide allegedly received $3 million and N140 million from Mr.Â George Mark while the sum of $1 million was received from Mr. Hans George-Christ, in twoÂ tranches of $500,000 respectively.
He was alleged to have received these bribe monies in contravention of Section 1 andÂ 15(d) of the Money Laundering Act, 2004 and punishable under section 15(2)(b) of the Act.
Bodunde pleaded not guilty to the six-count charge.
Before taking his plea, the prosecutor, Mr. Godwin Obla applied to withdraw an earlierÂ charge filed on 3 September, 2010 and substituted it with a fresh charge which was filedÂ early this month.
The earlier charge sheet contained charges against Bodunde, Julius Berger ConstructionÂ Company and other officials of Halliburton. But the fresh charge sheet contains onlyÂ allegations against Bodunde alone.
Mr. Adoke Bello, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, recentlyÂ dropped the charges against Julius Berger Construction Company when it embraced a pleaÂ bargain.
Upon pleading not guilty on the allegation against him, Bodundeâ€™s lawyer, Mr. AdeyemiÂ Aremu from Chief Afe Babalolaâ€™s chambers, made an oral application for his bail. TheÂ prosecution did not oppose the application.
The court granted Bodunde bail in the sum of N1 million and one surety in like sum, andÂ adjourned his trial till 16 December.
Bodundeâ€™s name appeared in the following charges before the amendment.: â€œThat you, GeorgeÂ Mark, Jeffrey Tesler (now at large), Hans George Christ, Heinrich J. Stockhausen; JuliusÂ Berger Nigeria Plc, Bilfinger Berger GMBH sometime between 2002 and 2003 within theÂ jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired among yourselves to make several cashÂ payments in the sum of US$1 million (five times) totalling in equivalent the sum of $5Â million to one Adeyanju Bodunde and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 16Â of the Money Laundering Act 1995 (as saved by Section 23(2) of the Money Laundering AcÂ 2004) and punishable under section 15(2) and (3) of the Money Laundering Act 1995 (asÂ saved by section 23(2) of the Money Laundering Act, 2004).â€
â€”Nnamdi Felix / Abuja