Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The Federal High Court in Benin has adjourned till October 15 the N700 million money laundering suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and four others.
The four other defendants in the suit are former Edo State People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman Dan Orbih, state PDP chairman Tony Aziegbemi, former Deputy Governor Lucky Imasuen, and Efe Anthony.
The court had on June 18 validated the corruption charges against the defendants.
The case, which was adjourned to July 7, could not, however, be heard following the inability of the 1st defendant (Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu) to appear in court because of his ill health.
But on Tuesday, as early as 9.30 am, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu had taken his seat in court.
The defendants’ counsel had earlier filed a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit.
Consequently, the EFCC Prosecution Counsel, Ahmed Imoovba, pleaded with the court by way of a motion to seek an extension of time to file their reply to the objection.
The presiding judge, Justice Umar Garba, after listening to counsel to the parties in the suit, requested them to file processes within seven days as the court will soon embark on a vacation.
He then adjourned the case to October 15 for further hearing.
The EFCC had filed an eight-count charge against the accused person on alleged illegal receipt of public funds to the tune of N700 million for the purpose of the 2015 general election.
The EFCC further accused the defendants of conspiring among themselves to commit the offence in March 2015, alleging that they took possession and control of the funds without any contract award.