Court Remands Ex-INEC Chair, Maurice Iwu over Alleged N1.2bn Fraud


Davidson Iriekpen

A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday arraigned a former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Chairman, Prof. Maurice Iwu, at the Federal High Court in Lagos.

He was arraigned on charges bordering on aiding and concealment of total sum of N1.203 billion, which was said to be proceeds of unlawful act.

He was alleged to have between December 2015 and March 27, 2015, used his company, Bioresources Institute of Nigeria (BION) Limited, whose account with number 1018603119 domiciled in Untied Bank of Africa (UBA) Plc.

The anti-graft agency also alleged that Professor Iwu and a lawyer, Victor Chukwuani, retained the sum of N407 million, said to be proceeds of unlawful act in Bioresources Institute of Nigeria (BION) Limited’s Account No. 1018603119 domiciled in the United Bank for Africa Plc.

The offences according to the prosecution, are contrary to Sections 18(a),15(2) (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15 ( 3) of the same Act”.

Upon the reading of the counts to the former INEC boss, he pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

Following his not-guilty plea, the prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo leading A A Buhari and A O Muhammed, asked the court for a trial date, and also urged the court to remand the defendant in prison custody, till hearing of his bail application.

Responding, Professor Iwu’s lawyer, Ahmed Raji (SAN), leading John Osegi and A. Usman, informed the court that he had two applications, one challenging the court’s jurisdiction, and the bail application.

Raji however, withdrew the application challenging court’s jurisdiction on the grounds of his client’s freedom.

He urged the court to hear the bail application.

Upon his withdrawal of application challenging court’s jurisdiction, the presiding judge, Justice Justice Chuka Austine Obiozor, instantly struck same out.

Following the striking out of the application challenging court’s jurisdiction, Raji informed the court that a bail application had been served on the prosecution but yet to be responded to.

He urged the court either to let his client be with the prosecution till today (Friday) or be released to him, as he undertook to personally produce him in court.

He informed the court that ever since his client was granted administrative bail, he has never defaulted.

However, the prosecutor, Oyedepo, told the court that the appropriate place to remand a defendant after plea taken is prison.

In his ruling, Justice Obiozor ordered that the defendant be remanded in EFCC custody till today, for hearing of his bail application.