N650m Fraud: EFCC to Re-arraign Ex-FCT Minister, Akinjide, Others

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Davidson   Iriekpen 

A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday fixed June 11, 2019, for re-arraignment of a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Jumoke Akinjide, and others, charged with N650 million fraud.

The charges were preferred against the defendants by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Akinjide was first arraigned before Justice Sule Hassan, alongside two chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ayo Adeseun and Olarenwaju Otiti, on an amended 24-count charge bordering on the alleged offence. 

They had each pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bails.

Trial had commenced before Hassan, with witnesses being led in evidence, but mid-way into trial, the case was transferred to another judge, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke.

When the case was called yesterday, the defendants were represented by Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), O.F.A Adeosun and Akinola Oladeji, while Mr. U.U Buhari announced appearance for the EFCC.

Ayorinde then informed the court that he would require another date for arraignment of the defendants, as both him and the original prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, were appearing in another trial before a brother judge.

He told the court that the prosecutor had expressed his intention to be personally present for the arraignment, and on that premise, he urged the court to grant an adjournment.

His application was not opposed by other counsel and the court consequently, adjourned the case until June 11, for arraignment.

The defendants were re-arraigned on January 16, 2018, before Justice Hassan.

According to the charge, they were alleged to have received monies from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the build-up to the 2015 general election.

The money was said to have formed part of a total sum of $115 million, allegedly disbursed by Alison-Madueke, to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.