A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday, adjourned till Thursday, the trial of Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji of the Lagos State House of Assembly, charged with alleged money laundering.
Ikuforiji is standing trial alongside his aide; Oyebode Atoyebi, on an amended 56-count charge bordering on the offence.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the case which was earlier slated for continuation of trial was stalled on Wednesday, following the absence of the prosecutor, Chief Godwin Obla (SAN).
When the case was called, counsel representing the accused, Mr. Tunde Akirinmisi, informed the court of a letter from the prosecutor, intimating him of his absence from court.
Following the information by Akirinmisi, Justice Ibrahim Buba, therefore, ordered the court registrar to read out the letter in the open court.
In his letter, Obla informed the court that his absence was due to a matter he was also handling before a Federal High Court in Abuja.
He, therefore, craved the indulgence of the court that the matter be adjourned to June 5 and June 6, to enable him attend and prosecute his case.
Counsel for the accused did not object to the letter.
Buba, in a short ruling, accordingly, adjourned the case to June 5 and June 6, for continuation of trial.
He said that the bail of the accused persons should continue.
The accused were re-arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on June 24, 2013, following the retirement of Justice Okechukwu Okeke, the former judge.
They had both pleaded not guilty to the charge, and were granted bail in the sum of N1 billion with two sureties each in the sum of N500 million each.
On November 21, 2013, the prosecution opened its case. Obla called his first witness, Mr. Adebayo Adeniyi, a Principal Detective Superintendent, who concluded his evidence before the court on March 18.
In the charge, the accused were alleged to have committed the offence between April 2010 and July 2011.
They were alleged to have committed an illegal act of accepting cash payments of over N273 million from the Assembly, without going through a financial institution.
Ikuforiji was also alleged to have used his position to misappropriate about N500 million of the Assembly’s fund.
The offence is said to contravene the provisions of Section 18(a) of the money laundering (prohibition) Act, 2011.