A Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday rejected an application by former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Maurice Iwu, seeking the transfer of his N1.23bn fraud trial from Lagos to Abuja.
Justice Nicholas Oweibo ruled that the application lacked merit.
Iwu was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), October last year on four counts and accused of laundering N1.23bn .
It was alleged that between December 2014 and March 27, 2015, aided the concealment of N1.23bn in the account of Bioresources Institute of Nigeria Limited with number 1018603119, domiciled in the United Bank for Africa.
Iwu had through his lawyer, Mr Ahmed Raji (SAN), pleaded that the case be transferred from Lagos to Abuja on the basis of his old age.
The SAN said, “My Lord, this defendant is over 70 years of age and he always travels down to Lagos and books a hotel whenever this matter comes up. It will amount to great agony for him to continue with this trial in Lagos. ”
The motion was opposed by prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo.
The court was also informed that ex-INEC chairman acted contrary to sections 18(a) and 15 (2) (a) of the Money Laundering ((Prohibition) Act 2011 and was liable to be punished under Section 15(3) of the same Act.
Justice Oweibo dismissed the application insisting that a look at the list of witnesses submitted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission showed that most of the witnesses were in Lagos, with some retired, hence “justice will be better served for the trial to proceed in Lagos”.
Justice Oweibo thereafter adjourned till April 28 for trial.