The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the 2016 governorship election in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and four others will on Thursday, February 13, 2020, be re-arraigned on charges bordering on a N700 million election-related fraud.
The case file is currently in Court 1, Federal High Court, Benin City, before Hon. Justice M. G. Umar, who is the presiding judge of the judicial division. Ize-Iyamu and the four other accused persons were earlier arraigned in 2018 before Hon. Justice P. I. Ajoku. But, due to the transfer of the Judge, the trial could not go on.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had filed charges against the accused persons bordering on illegal receipt of public funds for the purpose of the 2015 general election, contrary to the provisions of the EFCC Act and the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.
A reliable source at the court, who pleaded not to be named, said Osagie Ize-Iyamu and the four others are to be re-arraigned on the 13th of February, 2020.
“The court case could not go on because the judge who handled the matter earlier was transferred. Now, a new judge, Hon. Justice M. G. Umar has taken over the case, which would come on the stated date.”
Other accused persons in the case are the Chairman of the Edo State chapter of the PDP, Chief Dan Orbih, a former deputy governor, Mr Lucky Imasuen; a former member of the House of Representatives, Mr Tony Azegbemi; and one Efe Anthony.
The EFCC accused the defendants of conspiring among themselves to commit the offence in March 2015. It alleged that they took possession and control of the funds without any contract award.
The EFCC also said the defendants allegedly made huge cash payments of various amounts to several people without going through a financial institution.