Ikuforiji: Court Fixed Nov.14, For Adoption Of Written Address

Right honourable Ikuforiji, When Presiding Over Lagos Assembly

A Lagos  Federal High Court, today, fixed November 14, for the adoption of written addresses in the trial of Right Honorable Adeyemi Ikuforiji, a former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly,  over alleged N338.8 million money laundering.

The presiding Judge, Justice Mohammed Liman, adjourned for adoption of written addresses after the defence lawyer tendered the Certified True Copy of court proceedings of 2014, before Justice Ibrahim Buba.

At the resumed hearing of the proceedings today, deacon Dele Adesina (SAN), lawyer to the Defendant, recalled a witness, in the former chief accountant of the Lagos state House of Assembly, Mr. Adewale Olatunji to tender the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the 2014 proceedings.

The court also admitted as exhibit, Olatunji’s statement made during interrogation with the EFCC.

Olatunji who was subpoenaed by the court, had earlier testified as the second Prosecution Witness in the trial. 

At the last adjourned date on May 4, 2023, the former speaker during his examination-in-chief, told the court that his trial was politically motivated.

Ikuforiji stated that the initial allegations made against him by the EFCC were on fraud and misappropriation of funds, which the Commission later changed to money laundering.

He said “My Lord sir, I am still surprised that EFCC will charge anybody for  money laundering, because the person collected from money brought from bank to the treasury of the House of Assembly, which is an arm of government.

“It is a pity that I am standing trial today  based on a faceless petition, that has no name or address of the writer, who alleged that I committed a fraud or misappropriated the sum of over N7 billion. But, politicians for what we are when you stepped on somebody’s toes, you’re bound to have many enemies.

“It is likely that I have a lot of enemies,and that is why we have this petition by an unknown writer. Who even know if the petition is from an individual and not from the EFCC itself.” 

Ikuforiji said that as a three-term Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, if he had indeed committed such infraction, EFCC will not be the first  to charge him, as members of the House would have dealt with him, by impeaching him first, before handing him over to law enforcement agency.

Denying the allegation of money laundering, levelled against him,  Ikuforiji said as the Head of the legislative arm of government, his role in any financial issue is to give final approval to memo put before him, after the Office of the Clerk and that of the Finance Department have done their worked on it.

“I don’t handle cash, or disbursement of funds, it is the duty of the Office of the Clerk and the Finance Department to do that” he added.

When asked if the second defendant, Oyebode Atoyebi, who was his personal assistant, did collect cash on his behalf, Ikuforiji said “Atoyebi collected money or cash for the Office of the Speaker, who at that time had over 100 staff, and definitely not for the Speaker in  person. Atoyebi can collect money for the running of the office of the Speaker and allowances of other Staff.”

On the status of the employment of Oyebode Atoyebi, ikuforiji told the court that “Atoyebi being a staff of Lagos State Government was seconded to the office of the Speaker”.