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N500m fraud: Appeal Court Orders Ikuforiji To Be Re-Tried





N500m fraud: Appeal Court Orders Ikuforiji To Be Re-Tried Adeyemi Ikuforiji

-Appeal court says the judgement of the lower federal high court that cleared Ikuforiji and his aide was wrong because there was clear evidence of contravention of the Money Laundry Act.

– The ex-Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly Adeyemi Ikuforiji and his aide Oyebode Atoyebi will now be retired by a different court on money laundering charges

The Court of Appeal in Lagos has ordered a re-trial of former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly Adeyemi Ikuforiji and his aide Oyebode Atoyebi on money laundering charges. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the appellate court in a unanimous judgment set aside the ruling of a Federal High Court presided over by Ibrahim Buba that cleared Ikuforiji and Atoyebi on the charges, declared that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had made out a prima facie case against the accused.

Justice Biobela Georgewill delivered the lead judgment ordering that trial should start ‘de novo’ (afresh) before another judge other than Justice Buba in light of the far-reaching findings already made by him. Other members of the three-member panel include Justice Side Bage and Justice Ugochukwu Ogakwu. Justice Georgewill in his lead judgment held that the offences created by Section 1 of the MLA 2004 and 2011 respectively were strict liability offences. The judge also said that their proof does not depend on the purposes the money was used for if the amount was above the threshold stipulated by law. “Regrettably, the court below went on a voyage of its own, discussing cash payment of million made to the Super Eagles in Brazil, even without any scintilla of evidence before it, instead of remaining focused on the issue at hand. “Does the fact that all persons likely to have committed a particular alleged offence have not been prosecuted become a reason for the court to decline jurisdiction of one of them being prosecuted? certainly not.

“I consider many of the issues raised so randomly by the court below as irrelevant and inconsequential to the just determination of the question before it, which is, whether the appellant made out a prima facie case. “Very worrisome to me, is the attitude of the court below, considering between the decision of this court and its own decision on which one to follow, even when its attention was called to the decision of this court. “I find this attitude quite bizarre and not in sync with judicial attitude toward the time honoured doctrine of stare decisis. It is pure rascality, impertinence and disregard for judicial hierarchy in this country. “In light of my finding above, I have no difficulty resolving the sole issue for determination in the negative against the respondents in favour of the appellant.

“I hold firmly therefore, that the appeal has merit and ought to be allowed; the ruling of the lower court is hereby set aside,” Justice Georgewill held. Justice Buba, had on September 26, 2014, discharged Ikuforiji and Atoyebi of a 56-count charge of conspiracy and laundering the sum of N500 million belonging to the Assembly in contravention of provisions of Sections 15 (1d) and 16(1d) of Money Laundry Act, MLA, 2004 and 2011. The EFCC, dissatisfied with the judgement, through its counsel, Godwin Obla, filed the Notice of Appeal dated September 30, 2014. Ikuforiji was speaker of the Lagos state House of Assembly from 2005 to 2015. Meanwhile, after suffering a resounding defeat in the recently concluded Ondo governorship election, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) returns to the Appeal Court today for the determination of all pending court cases about its leadership. The matters are before the Appeal court’s special panel in Abuja.

 


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N500m fraud: Appeal Court Orders Ikuforiji To Be Re-Tried
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