7th June, 2013
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has charged four persons: Saro Manson, Stepbere Kristen, Hannah Baghabo and Chilsom Uwazie, before Justice J.Ahiakwo of the State High Court Port Harcourt on 12-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing and money laundering.
The accused allegedly diverted N209.2 million, being the compensation paid to ACM Industrial Community, Trans Amadi, Port Harcourt by Halliburton Energy Services Nigeria Limited, to their use.
The accused who were agents and representatives of the community allegedly collected the sum on behalf of other members of the community following a judgement obtained from the State High Court, Port Harcourt in December 2004 against Halliburton.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the charges when it was read to them.
One of the counts read, “that Chief Saro Manson, Stepbere Kristen, Hannan Baghabo, Chilsom Uwazie between the month of July and November, 2006 at Port Harcourt within the Port Harcourt Judicial Division being agents and representatives of the A C M Industrial Community Trans Amadi, Port Harcourt did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit stealing and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 516 of the Criminal Code CAP 37 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999. Another count reads; That you, Chief Saro Manson, Stepbere Kristen, Hannan Baghabo and Chilsom Uwazie between the month of July and November, 2006 being the signatories to the account domicile in Zenith Bank Plc. Account No. 6010922629 did fraudulently withdraw the sum of N209, 200,000.00 (Two Hundred and Nine Million, Two Hundred Thousand Naira Only) and converted same to your own use which said sum came into your possession by virtue of you being their agents and representatives and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 390 (8) (9) of Criminal Code CAP 37 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria”.
Justice Ahiakwo however granted the accused bail in the sum of N200, 000 and two sureties each in like sum.
Sureties must be recommended by counsel, own property in Port Harcourt which value must not to be less than one million naira. The case was adjourned to August 7, 2013 for trial.