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Ize-Iyamu fails to stop ‘N700m fraud’ trial

  A federal high court sitting in Benin, Edo state, has ruled that it will continue the hearing on the money laundering charge brought again...

 

A federal high court sitting in Benin, Edo state, has ruled that it will continue the hearing on the money laundering charge brought against Osagie Ize-Iyamu, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the September 2020 governorship election.


Ize-Iyamu had through his lawyer, Charles Edosomwan, challenged the court’s jurisdiction to hear the case.

 

Edosomwan had submitted that the charges filed against the defendants were based on election matter, and thus, ought to have been heard before a magistrate or a high court of the state.

 

Ruling on the application on Tuesday, Umar Garba, the presiding judge, held that the matter before the court borders on money laundering which the federal high court has exclusive jurisdiction to hear.


Consequently, he dismissed the defendant’s application.

 

The judge also berated the defendants for filing the motion, which he said was intended to waste the time of the court.

 

The case has been adjourned till May 18 for further hearing.


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had filed the suit against Ize-Iyamu and four others over alleged N700 million fraud in the buildup to the 2015 elections.

 

They were alleged to have collected the money from Diezani Alison-Madueke, former minister of petroleum.

 

The four other defendants in the suit are Dan Orbih, the Edo PDP chairman; Lucky Imaseun, former deputy governor of Edo; Tony Azegbemi, a former house of reps member, and Efe Anthony, a chieftain of the party.

 

The anti-graft agency in suit no. FHC/BE21C/2016 filed an eight-count charge against the accused persons bordering on alleged illegal receipt of public funds to the tune of N700 million for the purpose of the 2015 general election, contrary to the provisions of the EFCC Act and the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.

 

The EFCC further accused the defendants of conspiring among themselves to commit the offence in March 2015, alleging that they took possession and control of the funds without any contract award.

 

They had pleaded not guilty to the charges, setting the stage for their trial.