A Federal High Court in Benin yesterday adjourned until October 15, 2020, an N700 million money laundering suit filed against the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for the September 19 Edo governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and four others.
Ize-Iyamu; chairman of Edo State branch of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Tony Aziegbemi; his predecessor, Dan Orbih; former deputy governor, Mr. Lucky Imasuen and Mr. Efe Erimuoghae-Anthony are facing trial for allegedly laundering N700 million meant to prosecute the 2015 general elections.
The trial had suffered a series of setbacks due to Ize-Iyamu’s absence in court, even as the presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Garba, had earlier validated the charges against him.
However, as early as 9:30 am yesterday, Ize-Iyamu had taken his seat in the courtroom waiting for the presiding judge to take his seat. The defendants’ counsel had earlier filed a preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit.
But counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which filed the suit against the defendants, Ahmed Imoovba pleaded with the court by way of a motion to seek an extension of time to file a reply to the objection.
Justice Garba, after listening to the positions of the various counsel, asked them to file their reply within seven days, stating that the court would soon embark on a vacation. He adjourned the case until October 15 for further hearing.
In the suit, EFCC is accusing the defendants of conspiring among themselves to commit the offense in March 2015, alleging that they took possession and control of the funds without any contract award.
Ize-Iyamu, a former member of the PDP and now the governorship candidate of the APC, was the Edo State Director-General of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign in the 2015 general elections.