Money Laundering: Ex-Lagos Speaker, Ikuforiji, Aide’s Trial Adj. Till Nov. 25
Justice Mohammed Liman of a Lagos Federal High Court, today, further adjourned the trial of the immediate past Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji and his personal assistant, Oyebode Atoyebi, till November 25, 2020.
Both Ikuforiji and Atoyebi were charged before the court on 53 counts of alleged laundering of N338. 8 million by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
They had pleaded not guilty and Justice Liman allowed them to continue on an earlier bail granted to them in 2012, when they were first arraigned.
However, their trial which was earlier slated for 1.p.m. today, could not proceed, as a new date has now been scheduled for continuation.
Consequently, Justice Liman adjourned the matter till November 25.
At the last adjourned date on September 30, the prosecutor, Ekene Ihenacho, had called the first prosecuton witness, Adebayo Adeniji, an investigator with the EFCC, who had commenced his evidence in the matter.
Both Ikuforiji and Atoyebi were first arraigned on March 1, 2012 before Justice Okechukwu Okeke on 20 counts bordering on misappropriation and money laundering.
They had each pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bails.
The defendants were, however, subsequently re-arraigned before Justice Ibrahim Buba, following a re-assignment of the case.
Buba had granted them bail in the sum of N500 million each with sureties in like sum.
On September 26, 2014, Justice Buba discharged Ikuforiji and his aide of the charges, after upholding a no case submission of the defendants.
Buba had held that the EFCC failed to establish a prima-facie case against them.
Dissatisfied with the ruling, the EFCC through its counsel, Godwin Obla (SAN), filed the Notice of Appeal dated September 30, 2014 challenging the decision of the trial court.
Obla had argued that the trial court erred in law when it held that the counts were incompetent because they were filed under Section 1(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004 which was repealed by an Act of 2011.
EFCC further argued that the lower court erred in law when it held that the provisions of Section 1 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004 and 2011, only applied to natural persons and corporate bodies other than the government.