Adibe Emenyonu in Benin-city
The Federal High Court in Benin-city, Edo State, has adjourned till October 15, 2020, the N700 million money laundering suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against five Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains, including candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
Others involved in the suit are former Edo State PDP Chairman, Chief Dan Orbih; incumbent Chairman of the state PDP, Dr. Tony Aziegbemi; former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Mr. Lucky Imasuen, and one Efe Anthony.
The alleged crime was committed during the 2015 presidential election.
The court had on June 18, 2020, validated the corruption charges against the defendants, but the case suffered a setback on July 7 following the inability of the first defendant (Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu) to appear in court because of health issues.
However, as early as 9:30a.m, yesterday, Ize-Iyamu was already seated in court with counsel to all the parties in the case who earlier filed a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit.
When the case came up for hearing yesterday, the EFCC prosecution counsel, Ahmed Imoovba, pleaded with the court through a motion seeking an extension of time to file their reply to the objection.
The presiding judge, Justice Umar Garba, having listened careful to the various counsel, asked them to file whatever they have to file within seven days as the court will soon embark on vacation, and adjourned the case to October 15, 2020, for further hearings.
Recall that the EFCC in suit no: FHC/BE21C/ 2016 had filed an eight-count charge against the accused persons on alleged illegal receipt of public funds to the tune of N700 million for the purpose of the 2015 general election.
The EFCC further accused the defendants of conspiring among themselves to commit the offence in March 2015, alleging that they took possession and control of the funds without any contract award.