Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The trial of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and four others at the Federal High Court, Benin over alleged N700million money allegation was stalled yesterday, as the court could not sit. The case was, however, adjourned to July 7 for hearing.
Other defendants in the suit are former Edo State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman, Chief Dan Orbih, state chairman of the party, Tony Aziegbemi, former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Lucky Imasuen, and Efe Erimuoghae Anthony.
The defendants were to appear before Justice Mohammed Umar in an eight-count charge of money laundering to the tune of N700 million.
The EFCC, in Suit No. FHC/BE21C/ 2016, said Ize-Iyamu and four others allegedly received public funds illegally to the tune of N700 million for the purpose of the 2015 general election, contrary to the provisions of the EFCC Act and the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.
The anti-graft agency alleged that the defendants conspired among themselves to commit the offence in March 2015, and took possession and control of the funds without any contract award.
The court had on June 18, 2020 validated the corruption charges against the defendants and adjourned the case to July 2, for further hearing.
But yesterday the court could not sit even as some of the defendants and their counsel were around the court premises.
Speaking to journalists, Paschal Ugbomhe, counsel to the PDP chairman, Tony Aziegbemi, said the case has been adjourned till July 7.
When asked the reason for the adjournment, he said: “It is a normal occurrence in court duties. It’s nothing unusual to adjourn matters.