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Former Lagos Speaker To Be Re-Arraigned Dec 11

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A Federal High Court in Lagos has on Wednesday scheduled December 11 for the re-arraignment of a former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, and his aide, Oyebode Atoyebi, for alleged money laundering.

Ikuforiji and Atoyebi currently face a N673 million laundering charge filed against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

According to the EFCC, the money in question belongs to the Lagos State Government and as such, should be returned by both men.

The Federal High Court, Lagos, discharged both men of the same allegations in 2015 on the ground that they had no case to answer.

But the lower court’s decision was reversed by the Supreme Court, following which Ikuforiji and Atoyebi were charged afresh by the EFCC before Justice Mohammed Liman.

Ikuforiji and Oyebode were both absent from court yesterday when the case was mentioned.

Their counsel, Mr Tunde Akinrinmisi, told the judge that the defendants have yet to be served.

Akinrinmisi said he received a hearing notice as one of the lawyers who represented the defendants during the initial trial and it was out of “utmost respect for the court” that he came to court on Wednesday.

He prayed the judge to grant an adjournment for him to get in touch with the defendants

But EFCC counsel Rotimi Oyedepo was not having it as he jumped against the defense.

Oyedepo told the court that he would “grudgingly concede to adjournment” because the case had suffered series of adjournments at the instance of the defendants.

Furthermore, he said, the charge was served on the defendants when the trial started some years ago.

Thereafter, Justice Liman adjourned till December 11, for the defendants arraignment.

The former speaker and his aide were initially discharged and acquitted by a Federal High Court in Lagos of 54 counts of money laundering to the tune of N673 million.

However, when the case was pursued to the Supreme Court on appeal by the EFCC, the Apex court in January 2018 ordered for a retrial by the Federal High Court.

In the new charge dated June 4, 2013, the EFCC filed 56-counts against the former speaker and his aide.

It was filed before the Federal High Court in Lagos by Mary Onaja.

The charge alleges that Ikuforiji and Atoyebi between April 2010 and August 2011 conspired to commit an illegal act, to wit, accepting various cash payments amounting to the sum of N673m from the Lagos State House of

Assembly without going through a financial institution, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section18(a) of the Money Laundering Act 2011.

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