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Supreme Court okays trial of ex-Lagos speaker’s aide

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The Supreme Court has ordered the trial of an aide to the former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Oyebode Atoyebi.

It upheld the ruling of the Court of Appeal, which earlier set aside the judgment of a Federal High Court in Lagos.

The Supreme Court would on January 15, 2018 deliver a separate ruling on the former Speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji’s application on the matter.

The ruling delivered by Justice Inyang Okoro, held that the appellate court was right in declaring that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had established a prima facie case of money laundering against Atoyebi.

The Lagos Division of the Appeal Court had in November 2016, ordered that a fresh trial be commenced before another judge other than Ibrahim Buba, who earlier handled the case.

Buba had on September 26, 2014, discharged Ikuforiji and Atoyebi of a 54-amended count charge of conspiracy and laundering of N500 million belonging to the Lagos 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, contravene the provisions of Sections 15 (1d) and 16(1d) of Money Laundry Act, MLA, 2004 and 2011.

Ruling on a no-case submission filed by Ikuforiji and Atoyebi, the trial judge had ruled that the EFCC failed to establish a prima-facie case against them.

Dissatisfied with the ruling, the EFCC filed a notice of appeal on September 30, 2014, asking the Court of Appeal to void Buba’s ruling.


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