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N500m Money Laundering Charges: Ikuforiji Makes “No Case Submission”

First Bank Nigeria

Adeyemi-Ikuforiji-300x217A Federal High Court in Lagos, has fixed Friday the 11th of July to rule on a “no case submission” made by the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji.

Hon Ikuforiji is standing trial alongside his aide, Oyebode Atoyebi, on an amended 56 count charge of laundering about N500 million of the Lagos State House of Assembly funds.

Justice Ibrahim Buba reserved ruling after the defence counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) made the no case submission on behalf of his client before the court.

Adopting his submissions, Olanipekun argued that the prosecution had not in any way, made out a case against the accused to warrant him entering the dock to open his defence.

Citing a plethora of authorities, the learned silk argued that the office of a speaker of House of Assembly of a state was constitutionally created, and so, by parity of reasoning, the first accused was sovereign as presently constituted.

He noted that the charge against the accused largely dwelt on transacting with funds above the threshold stipulated by the Money Laundering Act and not necessarily whether they were in cash or not.

He also argued that the accused had not been involved in any transaction within the contemplation of the Act, since all funds collected on his behalf, were based on requisition notes which were approved and handed over to banks, before cash was received.

He concluded that the National Assembly would not have contemplated by the enactment of the Act, that the accused who had only obtained funds officially for the benefit of the Assembly, would now stand trial for performing his official duties.

Chief Olanipekun also pointed out that the prosecution failed to demonstrate elements of conspiracy between the accused persons, he therefore, submitted that prosecution had not made out any case against the accused, for which he was expected to now enter a defence.

Counsel to the the Speaker’s aide, Mr Tunde Akinrimisi, aligned himself with the submissions of Chief Olanipekun.

In response to the submissions of the defence counsel, the prosecutor, Chief Godwin Obla (SAN), urged the court to disregard the arguments of the counsel, and order the accused persons to open their defence.

Obla argued that the confessional statement of the accused persons before the EFCC, was enough evidence on their admission of having transacted with cash of the Assembly, about 57 times.

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