‘Alleged fraud: EFCC witness exonerates Ikuforiji

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BY INNOCENT ANABA

LAGOS—The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, admitted before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, that Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker, Mr. Adeyemi Ikuforiji never used any of the funds he received from accounts department of the House for any illegal activity.

This is apparently a twist, as the commission is prosecuting Ikuforiji and his Special Assistant, Oyebode Atoyebi on alleged money laundering charges.

An EFCC operative, Mr. Adebayo Adeniyi, who is the first prosecution witness, under cross-examination, admitted that the investigation of the commission never reveal that the various cash payments, which Ikuforiji allegedly received through Atoyebi from the Accounts Department of the House was used for any criminal activity such as terrorism, kidnapping, insider trading or market manipulation, tax evasion, drug trafficking, hostage taking, robbery, smuggling, sexual exploitation, organisation of criminal group or racketeering.

Adeniyi,  a Principal Detective Superintendent with EFCC, had earlier told the court how various cash payments were made to Ikuforiji through Atoyebi at the Accounts Department of the Assembly.
He said the funds were withdrawn from the accounts of Lagos State House of Assembly with Wema Bank and Equitorial Trust Bank, ETB, which the Director of Finance of the House and the Permanent Secretary were signatories to, but that the eventual disbursement of the cash to Atoyebi were not done through a financial institution.

On whether the received funds were for official use of members of the Assembly, the prosecution witness answered in the affirmative, adding: “We did asked some of the lawmakers and they admitted collecting the cash.”

Adeniyi further said: “My Lord, from our investigation, we discovered that the permanent secretary normally withdraws the cash from the bank on behalf of the Assembly in his name. We were also interested in seeing how these funds were expended and our investigation revealed the funds were paid to members of the Assembly and their officials, but these cash payments were above the threshold in which the permanent secretary could transact on.”

 

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