Money Laundering: Former Lagos Speaker Has Case to Answer, Supreme Court Rules

Former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, and Oyebode Atoyebi, who have been standing trial for money laundering charges have lost their bid to upturn the judgement of the Appeal Court.
This is as the Supreme Court upheld an earlier ruling of the Lagos Division of the Appeal Court which held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had established a prima facie case against them far from the decision of a Federal High Court, which cleared the defendants of the money laundering offences.
In a ruling delivered by Jstice Inyang Okoro, the apex court held that that appellate court was right in declaring that the EFCC had established a prima facie case against Atoyebi, an aide to Ikuforiji.
The Supreme Court will deliver a separate ruling on Ikuforiji’s application on January 15th, it was learnt.
The Appeal Court had, in November 2016, also ordered that a fresh trial be commenced before another Judge other than Ibrahim Buba, the Federal High Court, who had handled the case.
Buba had on September 26, 2014, discharged Ikuforiji and Atoyebi of a 54-amended count charge of conspiracy and laundering N500m belonging to the Assembly.
The EFCC said the cash payments were above the threshold set by the Money Laundering Act without going through a financial institution.
The offences, according to the EFCC, contravenes the provisions of Sections 15 (1d) and 16(1d) of Money Laundry Act, MLA, 2004 and 2011.
The trial Judge, who discharged the ex-Speaker and Atoyebi, while ruling on a no-case submission filed by the accused persons, held that the EFCC failed to establish a prima-facie case against them.
Dissatisfied with the ruling, the EFCC through its counsel, Godwin Obla, filed the Notice of Appeal dated September 30, 2014.
Obla asked the Court of Appeal to hold that Justice Buba erred in law when he held that counts two to 48 were incompetent because they were filed pursuant to Section 1(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004 which was repealed by an Act in 2011.
Following the decision of the Appeal Court to set aside the decision of the Federal High Court, Ikuforiji and Atoyebi headed to the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the ruling.

Author: News Editor

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