Money Laundering: Ex-Lagos Speaker, Ikuforiji, Aide’s Trial Adjourned Till Nov. 25
Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court, Lagos, today, further adjourned the trial of the immediate past Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji and his Personal Assistant, Oyebode Atoyebi till November 25, 2020.
Both Ikuforiji and Atoyebi were charged before the court on 53 counts of alleged money laundering to the tune of N338. 8 million by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
They had however, pleaded not guilty to the charge and the trial judge, Justice Liman allowed them to continue on the earlier bail granted to them in 2012, when they were first arraigned.
However, their trial which was earlier slated for 1.p.m. today, Wednesday, could not proceed, as November 25, was fixed for continuation of trial.
At the last adjourned date on September 30, the prosecutor, Ekene Ihenacho, had called the first prosecution witness, Adebayo Adeniji, an investigator with the EFCC, who commenced his evidence in the matter.
Both Ikuforiji and Atoyebi were first arraigned on March 1, 2012 before Justice Okechukwu Okeke on 20 counts bordering on misappropriation of public fund and money laundering.
They had each pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bails.
The defendants were, however, subsequently re-arraigned before Justice Ibrahim Buba, following the re-assignment of the case.
Buba also granted them bail in the sum of N500 million each with sureties in like sum.
On September 26, 2014, Justice Buba discharged Ikuforiji and his aide of the charges, after upholding a no – case submission of the defendants.
Buba while ruling on the no-case submission held that the EFCC failed to establish a prima-facie case against them.
Dissatisfied with the ruling, the EFCC through its counsel, Godwin Obla (SAN), filed a Notice of Appeal dated September 30, 2014 challenging the decision of the trial court.
Obla in the Notice of appeal argued that the trial court erred in law when it held that the counts were incompetent because they were filed under Section 1(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004 which was repealed by an Act of 2011.
EFCC further argued that the lower court erred in law when it held that the provisions of Section 1 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004 and 2011, only applied to natural persons and corporate bodies other than the government.