A Federal High Court In Ibadan Remands Jumoke Akinjide, Otiti In EFCC Custody
A Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan has ordered that a former Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Oloye Jumoke Akinjide and another chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo state, Chief Olanrewaju Otiti be remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the N650 million fraud allegedly collected to fund the 2015 election in the state.
The court also ordered the anti-graft body to produce unfailingly the second defendant in the case, Senator Ayoade Adeseun who has failed to appear in court to face trial over the alleged fraud.
At Thursday’s hearing , counsel to the first and second defendants, Oloye Jumoke Akinjide and Senator Ayoade Adeseun ( at large) , Chief Bolaji Ayorinde SAN and Chief Michael Lana announced their withdrawal from the case amidst heated argument over a ruling by the presiding Judge , Justice Joyce Abdul-Malik .
In charge no FHC/IB/26c/2017, the defendants were accused to have conspired to take possession of N650millon unlawfully and committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (a) of the money laundry Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15 (3) & 4 of the Act.
Before the court took the plea of the defendants, Justice Abdul-Malik ordered that the12 count charge be read out to the defendants, to which they pleaded not guilty.
Some of the count charge reads in part ” That you Mrs Diezani Alison – Madueke ( still at large) , Oloye Jumoke Akinjide , Senator AYO Ademola Adeseun and Chief Olanrewaju Otiti on or about the 26th day of March , 2015 , in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this honourable court conspired amongst yourselves to directly take possession of the N650million which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section (18) of the Money Laundering Act , 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) & 4 of the same Act.
The counsel to the first defendant ( Oloye Jumoke Akinjide) , Chief Bolaji Ayorinde SAN in his submission urged the court to refuse an alleged defective prosecution applications dated 9 March , 2017 and 20 March , 2017 for not having the seal of the Nigerian Bar Association ( NBA) .
He said it was improper for prosecution counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, to seek to substitute a charge without an order or permission of the court.
He challenged the EFCC counsel for seeking to replace the originating charge with another charge sheet dated 20 March , contending that the charge sheet to be amended is defective.
Also, Chief Michael Lana, counsel to second defendant, Senator Ayo Adeseun, while supporting the position of Chief Ayorinde SAN submitted that once there is no seal in a charge sheet, it is deemed not to have been filed.
The EFCC counsel, Mr Oyedepo, while reacting, argued that the contentious charge sheet is competent and valid before the court, since it carried a receipt issued by the NBA.
In resolving the issue, Justice Abdul-Malik, after listening to the submission of the counsel ruled that the court would not harbour any charge sheet not bearing the seal of the NBA, but ordered that the prosecution counsel could substitute the defective charge with the one with the NBA receipt.
There was, however, emotional outburst, while the prosecution counsel was seeking to substitute the charge sheet ,as the defendant counsel rose against it , which led to the decision of the two defendant counsel to announce their withdrawal from the case.
Earlier, the first defendant, Oloye Jumoke Akinjide through an application sought to enter into plea bargain, as well as the third defendant, Chief Otiti Olanrewaju.
The prosecution counsel, Mr Oyedepo informed the court also that the parties have agreed on the plea bargain agreement and that negotiation has commenced.
Counsel to the third defendant (Chief Olanrewaju Otiti), Adeniyi Ishola, while aligning himself to the plea bargain agreement, also moved application for bail for the third defendant.
The presiding Judge, Justice Abdul-Malik who ordered the defendants to be remanded in EFCC custody adjourned the case to 12 September, while hearing on the bail application for the third defendant was adjourned to
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