Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The trial of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and four others at the Federal High Court, Benin yesterday, suffered a setback as the court failed to sit but adjourned to July 7, for hearing.
Other defendants in the suit include former Edo State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chairman, Chief Dan Orbih, who is now Vice Chairman South-south of the party; present state chairman of the party, Hon.Tony Aziegbemi; former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Mr. Lucky Imasuen, and Efe Erimuoghae Anthony.
The defendant were to appear before Justice M. Umar over a case filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), bordering on an eight-count charge of money laundering to the tune of N700 million meant to prosecute the 2015 general election.
The EFCC in Suit No. FHC/BE21C/ 2016, said the five accused allegedly received public funds illegally to the tune of N700 million for the purpose of the 2015 general election, contrary to the provisions of the EFCC Act and the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.
The EFCC further alleged that the defendants conspired among themselves to commit the offence in March 2015, and took possession and control of the funds without any contract award.
The Court had on June 18, 2020 validated the corruption charges against the defendants and adjourned the case to July 2, for further hearing.
At the resumed hearing yesterday, the court could not sit due to undisclosed reasons but it was observed that some of the defendants and their counsel were around the court premises.
Speaking to journalists, Counsel to the PDP chairman, Mr. Pascal Ugbomhe said the case has been adjourned till July 7, 2020.
When asked the reason for the adjournment, he said, “It is a normal occurrence in court duties. It’s nothing unusual to adjourn matters.
He said, “The defendants and counsel have been in court since about 8a.m and the court officials only informed us that the matter has been adjourned to July 7.”