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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Alleged N700m EFCC fraud: APC guber candidate appears in court, case adjourned

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The Federal High Court sitting in Benin on Tuesday adjourned the trial of the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Sept. 19 Edo Governorship Election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and four others until Oct 15,

Justice Mohammed Umar adjourned the case to enable the counsels to file a reply to the pending motions challenging the jurisdiction of the court to try the case.

The other defendants in the case include Chief Dan Orbih, estwhile State chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the state Chairman of the party, Tony Aziegbemi, former Deputy Governor of Edo, Mr Lucky Imasuen, and Efe Erimuoghae-Anthony.

The defendants are being tried on charges bordering on alleged N700 million money laundering case filed against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Although Justice Umar had, on Thursday, June 18, validated the corruption charges against the defendants whose case had suffered a setback on July 7 following the inability of Ize-Iyamu to appear in court because of his ill health.

At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, Ize-Iyamu arrived the court as early as 8:30 am., while his lawyer, Mr Charles Edosomwan (SAN), objected to the EFCC’s Counsel, Mr Ahmed Imoovba’s request to continue with the case when the pending motions before the court were yet to be heard.

Edosomwan prayed the court to grant the defendants seven day’s extension of time to react to the EFCC’s motion on point of law in line with the rules of the court.

Imoovba and counsels to the other defendants did not oppose Edosomwan’s application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit.

Similarly, Imoovba, in his own separate motion, sought for extension of time to file his reply to Edosomwan’s objection.

Justice Umar, after listening to the submissions of both counsels, ruled that he had given all the parties seven days within which to file all relevant documents to court before the commencement of its vacation on July 27.

Justice Umar adjourned the case until Oct. 15 for further hearing.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the EFCC, in Suit No. FHC/BE21C/ 2016, had filed an eight-count charge against the defendants over alleged illegal receipt of public funds to the tune of N700 million for the purpose of the 2015 general election.

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 awarded.

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