N500 Fraud: Judge Strikes out Ex-Ondo PDP Chair’s Preliminary Objections


Davidson Iriekpen

Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court in Lagos has struck out a preliminary objection filed by the former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State, Clement Faboyede, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear a N500 million fraud charge filed against him.

The judge threw out the application after Faboyede and his co-accused, Modupe Adetokunbo, the Director General of PDP Campaign Organisation in Ondo State applied to withdraw the application.

The politicians, who had claimed that none of the ingredients or acts alleged against them in the proof of evidence by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) took place in Lagos State but in Akure, Ondo State, did not give any reason for their action.

They were both arraigned before Justice Saidu by the EFCC on a three-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering.

They pleaded not guilty to the charge.

At the last sitting of the court, the judge had adjourned the case till Tuesday to hear the arguments from parties in the matter on preliminary objections.

But at the resumed hearing of the case, defence counsel, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) moved a motion to withdraw the applications.

Following no objection from the counsel to the EFCC, Ekene Iheanacho, the court struck out the objections and fixed February 12 for trial.

The politicians in the applications are seeking for an order of the court dismissing or striking out the charge.

In an affidavit attached to the application and deposed to by Faboyede, it was averred that all the defence witnesses were scattered across the 18 Local Government Areas (LGA) of Ondo State and that it would be difficult to bring them to Lagos State to testify in the matter.

He claimed that some of the witnesses were said to be civil servants who are residents of Ondo State.

Faboyede and Adetokunbo were accused by the EFCC of receiving a cash sum of N500 million from one Owolanke Michael in the build-up to the 2015 general election.

The commission also claimed that Faboyede made a N500 million cash payment to the Ondo State Election Committee of the PDP.

Iheanacho claimed that the accused persons committed the offence on March 27, 2015 and that the offence is contrary to Section 18 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition ) Act , 2011 and are liable to punishment under Section 16 (2 ) of the same Act.