N650m Fraud: Akinjide, Others Beg Court To Quash Charges
A former Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, Mrs. Jumoke Akinjide alongside a former senator, Ayo Adeseun and a Peoples Democratic Party chieftain (PDP), Olarenwaju Otiti, told a Lagos Federal High Court, to strike out the alleged N650 million fraud charges hanging on their necks, for wants of jurisdiction.
The trio also asked the court to discharge them of the alleged crimes still on the ground of jurisdiction.
The defendants are brought before the court presided Justice Chukwujekwu J. Aneke, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
Ms Akinjide is being prosecuted by the EFCC alongside Ayo Adeseun and a Peoples Democratic Party chieftain, Olarenwaju Otiti for N650 million fraud.
They were first arraigned on Jan. 16, 2018, before Muslim Hassan on a 24-count charge to which they pleaded not guilty.
Following an application filed by the defendants, the case was transferred to Chukwujekwu Aneke.
The EFCC accused the defendants of conspiring to take possession of N650 million crime proceeds.
The commission added that the defendants took possession of the sum without going through a financial institution.
At the resumed hearing of the matter today, the defendants’ legal team which comprises of Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) Mr. Michael Lana and A. Oladeji, in their separate applications, urged the court to quash charges against their clients and to also discharge them.
The defence team said their applications is premises on the Supreme Court decision on Professor Sulaiman and Abdullahi Babalele.
They told the court that “issue is not where the alleged crimes was invistigated but where it was committed. The alleged crimes was committed Ibadan not Lagos.
“I urged the court to strike out the amended charge and discharge the defendants accordingly”, each of the counsel separately urged the court.
Responding, EFCC counsel, Mr. U. U. Bihari who led Abbass Usman, urged the court to discountenance the defendants’ applications.
Buhari told the court that the charge which was initially filed at Ibadan, was transferred to Lagos at the instance of the defendants.
He said: “we wants the court to take judicial notice from the first date that the charge was filed in Ibadan, one of the defendants asked the court for transfer and the case file was transferred to another judge.
“When the matter was before another judge in Ibadan, they asked that the matter be transfer and it was transferred to Lagos division. Even, when case was assigned to your learned brother Honourable Justice Hassan, they applied for transfer and the charge was transferred to this court.
“Their case is distinguishable from Professor Sulaiman or Babalele. The defendantw have resorted to ‘forum shopping’ and we urged the court to dismiss the application.
Buhari however told the court that in case it incline to grant defendants’ application, it should not be strike out by transfer to Ibadan,where the alleged offences were committed.
Upon listened to the submission of parties, Justice Aneke adjourned the matter till March 3, for ruling.