Alleged Money Laundering: Court Strikes out Charge against Akinjide, Two Others

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Davidson Iriekpen

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has struck out the charge against a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mrs. Jumoke Akinjide and two others on allegations of fraud and money laundering to the tune of N650million.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke struck out the charge for being incompetent.

The former minister was standing trial alongside a former senator who represented Oyo Central senatorial district between 2011 and 2015, Senator Ayo Adeseun and a PDP chieftain, Mrs. Olanrewaju Otiti.

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

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

They had all pleaded not guilty to the charge after which trial commenced in the matter.

The defendants objected to the trial and asked that the case be struck out.

They also insisted that they could only be tried in the division where the offences allegedly took place.

In his ruling on the application, Justice Aneke held that pursuant to Section 45 of the Federal High Court Act, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court has the overriding powers to transfer any matter from one judge to another, within the jurisdiction of the court.

The judge also held that the charge was vague and defective as it did not specifically mention where the offences were allegedly committed.

The defendants were first arraigned on January 16, 2018, before Muslim Hassan on a 24-count charge to which they pleaded not guilty.

They were granted bail and trial began before Justice Hassan with witnesses testifying, but midway into the case, the defendants alleged bias against the judge and the case was then transferred to Justice
Aneke.