Accused persons get 7 days to regularise motion on jurisdiction
The candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the September 19, 2020 governorship election in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, was at the Federal High Court Benin, on Tuesday to face his N700 million money laundering case preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The five defendants, including Ize-Iyamu, were present in court in line with the earlier order of the court on July 7, 2020, that they appear in person before the court.
After listening to the submissions of the parties to the case, Justice Mohammed Umar Garba adjourned hearing on the preliminary objection to determine the motion on jurisdiction.
The court fixed October 15, 2020, for the hearing on motions on its jurisdiction to try the accused persons, Pastor Ize-Iyamu and four others, charged by the EFCC of money laundering to the tune of N700 million.
The court also gave the accused persons seven days to file their reply pending the motions challenging the jurisdiction of the court to try them.
The four other defendants, including former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Mr Lucky Imasuen, and Mr Efe Erimuoghae-Anthony, are facing eight-count charges of money laundering in the suit marked FHC/BE21C/ 2016.
The court ordered the defendants to file their reply to the motion within the period to the counter application which was dated June 29, 2020 and filed on July 1, 2020, that was raised by the prosecution counsel, Mr Ahmed Aroga.
Earlier, Mr Charles Edosomwan (SAN), Counsel to the first defendant, objected the request by the EFCC counsel to continue the case when the pending motions before the court were yet to be heard.
He prayed the court to grant the defendants seven days extension of time to react to the EFCC motion on point of law in line with the rules of the court.
The prosecution counsel, Mr Aroga, and Counsel to the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants in the case, did not oppose Edosomwan’s application.
Mr Aroga, however, raised serious concern over attempts by the defendants to delay a hearing on the case unnecessarily.
Commenting on the court ruling, Mr Charles Edosomwan said, “the court has also given us (defendants) within the period to file our own reply to their counter objection”.
On his part, Mr Pascal Ugbomen, counsel to the 3rd defendant, told journalists that “the trial judge also granted the preliminary motion which was raised by the counsels to the defendants in the trial.
“EFCC is saying that they have jurisdiction, but we challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter”.
The prosecution counsel, Mr Aroga, affirmed the position of the court which granted the defendants request for seven days extension of time to react.