BY SIMON EBEGBULEM
BENIN—SIX years after Justice Marcel Awokulehin of a Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, Delta State, struck out the 170-count charge of money laundering preffered against former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the Appeal Court, sitting in Benin, Edo State, yesterday held that the former governor has a case to answer.
It will be recalled that Justice Awokulehin of the trial court, had on December 16 2009, discharged and acquitted the former governor over allegation of money laundering.
But the EFCC, which arrested Ibori in 2007 after accusing him of embezzling over N140 million while in office, appealed the judgment, which it described as “hazy.”
However, in a unanimous judgment, read by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, the appellate court set aside the ruling of Justice Awokulehin of the Federal High Court.
The Appeal Court held that the Federal High erred in law when it declared that Ibori has no case to answer, saying that the allegations levelled against him should be re-tried by the court.
EFCC had insisted that the proof of evidence adduced before the court clearly showed that a prima facie case had been established against the accused/ respondent and that the trial judge erred when he held that no case was disclosed against the accused/ respondent.