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EFCC arraigns Ize-Iyamu, Orbih, others in Edo over alleged N700m fraud

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EFCC

• Judge declares Innoson Chukwuma wanted
• Strikes out alleged corruption case against Industrial Court

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned five chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State.

Those arraigned were the PDP’s governorship candidate in the State in the last election, Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu, and the state Chairman of the party, Dan Orbih.

Others were former deputy governor, Lucky Imasuen, a former member of the House of Representatives, Tony Azegbemi and Efe Anthony.

They were arraigned at a Federal High Court in Benin City over an alleged N700 million fraud.

In the suit, a former Chairman, Board of Trustee of the PDP, Tony Anenih was listed as being at large.

However, protesters, carrying various placards stormed the court, demanding the unconditional release of the accused persons.

The suspects, who were arraigned on an eight-count charge of money laundering, however pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.

Counsel to the suspects, Charles Edosomwan (Ize-Iyamu) Dr. O.G Izevbuwa (Imasuen) Kehinde Ogunsumi (Azegbemi) Ferdinand Orbih (Dan) and Prof. Jim Akhere Akhere, pleaded that their clients be granted bail on self-recognisance.

They also argued that their clients have been at the EFCC custody for 11 days.

But counsel to the EFCC, Larry Peters Aso, argued that the bio-data of the suspects had not been captured, and urged the judge to direct stringent bail conditions to ensure that they appear in court.

The presiding Judge, P.I Adjokwu, granted the five accused persons bail of N10million each, and a surety in like sum, who must be a public servant in the rank of level 16 and above.

Justice Adjokwu directed that they be remanded in prison custody pending when they meet their bail conditions, and adjourned the matter to July 4, 2018.

In Lagos, Justice Mojisola Dada of a Special Offences Court in Ikeja, yesterday declared the Chairman of Innoson Group of Companies, Innocent Chukwuma, wanted.

This followed an oral application by counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Anselem Bertram Ozioko.

Chukwuma was said to have refused to appear in court to answer charges filed against him by the anti-graft commission.

The trial judge had earlier issued a bench warrant against the defendant for not appearing in court, despite several invitations.

According to Ozioko: “The law should not be disrespected by anybody, no matter how highly placed he may be in the society.

But, counsel to Chukwuma, George Uwechue (SAN) objected to the EFCC’s plea.

He argued that they had challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter under consideration, or make a formal ruling on it.

The judge subsequently adjourned the matter till June 22, 2018.

In a related development, Justice Raliat Adebiyi of a Lagos High Court in Ikeja yesterday struck out the corruption charges filed by the EFCC against a judge of the National Industrial Court (NIC), Justice James Agbadu-Fishim.


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