A former minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, on Tuesday, notified the Federal High Court, Lagos, of her plan to negotiate with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the possibility of settling the alleged fraud charge preferred against her out of court.
The EFCC had, on January 16, re-arraigned Akinjide, Sen.Ayo Adeseun and a politician, Chief (Mrs.) Olanrewaju Otiti, before the court on a 24-count charge.
Akinjide’s lawyer, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), revealed this while addressing Justice Muslim Sule Hassan on his client intention, he noted that the matter was about the campaign funds of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State.
Adding that before the start of trial, the party took the decision to return the fund complained of by the prosecution through his client.
“The entire money from the charge is on the sum of N650 million. The funds were campaign money of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State in the 2015 general elections.
“The defendants who were PDP chieftains in Oyo state acting on the collective decision of the party decided to refund the money.
“I had a word with the EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, and we think it is wise going forward and at this point not to subject this matter to further adjudication and waste the time of the court.
“We decided that counsels on all sides should meet to look at the way forward on this charge, the money complained of having been refunded by the party through the first defendant.
“My application is that the court should adjourn further hearing pending the outcome of our discussion”, the silk said.
Other defence lawyers, Micheal Lana and Akinola Oladeji, were also in support of the plan.
Responding, EFCC’s lawyer, Oyedepo, said he was not opposed to an adjournment to allow for discussion between parties.
In the words of Oyedepo, “I confirmed the discussion with the silk this morning. But I want to say that the matter before the court is not principally about campaign funds.
“I also confirmed that the commission had recovered the sum of N650 million, not from the chieftains and principal members of the PDP, but rather from the first defendant (Akinjide).
“Section 270 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 allow parties to discuss. In view of the fact that the silk has applied for an adjournment to allow for discussion, we would not be objecting to his application”.
After listening to the submissions of parties in the matter, Justice Hassan adjourned further hearing in the matter to February 22.