A federal high court in Abuja has fixed July 21 for the arraignment of Stella Oduah, former minister of aviation.
Inyang Ekwo, the presiding judge, fixed the date after the court session on Monday.
Oduah, senator representing Anambra north, is to stand trial alongside eight others on a 25-count charge bordering on alleged conspiracy, money laundering, and maintaining anonymous bank accounts with First Bank Plc.
Other defendants are Gloria Odita, Nwosu Emmanuel Nnamdi, Chukwuma Irene Chinyere, Global Offshore and Marine Ltd, Tip Top Global Resources Ltd, Crystal Television Ltd, Sobora International Ltd, and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) Nigeria Ltd.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alleged that Oduah misappropriated public funds estimated at N5 billion while serving as a minister.
Although the case came up for arraignment several times between 2021 and 2023, it was stalled for several reasons.
At the last court session, the judge ordered the EFCC to arrest some persons over a “threat” to his life.
He said the individuals had sent text messages to his phone advising him against the trial of the defendants.
At the resumed court session, Hassan Liman, prosecution counsel, told the court that the commission had carried out an investigation and was able to trace the identity of the person via the telephone number.
The lawyer identified the person as one Okolo Obinna Johnson, a promoter of two companies.
He said the effort was made through the search and linked bank verification number (BVN) of the alleged person via the telephone number submitted, adding that the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) cooperated with the EFCC.
However, Liman said the anti-graft agency made all efforts to track the physical person, in conjunction with other security agencies, but were yet to be successful.
He assured that the EFCC would not leave any stone unturned in bringing him to book.
The judge adjourned the matter to July 21 for commencement of trial adding that any defendant who is absent from court on that day would be committed to prison.