The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) today, rearraigned a former Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Right Honourable Adeyemi Sabit Ikuforiji alongside his Personal Assistant, Mr. Oyebode Atoyebi, before a Federal High Court, Lagos, for allegedly laundering millions of Naira.
The rearraignment of both Ikuforiji and Atoyebi, was sequel to a Supreme Court judgment delivered in 2018, which ordered their retrial after it upheld an Appeal Court decision for their retrial for allegedly laundering the sum of N338m.
Justice Ibrahim Buba, who is of the Lagos Division of the Court, had in a ruling in September 2014 held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission failed to establish a prima facie case against Ikuforiji and Atoyebi and dismissed the 56 counts charges against him.
Dissatisfied with the Justice Buba’s judgment, the EFCC, appealed to the Court of Appeal, which, in November 2016, overturned Justice Buba’s verdict and ordered that Ikuforiji and his former aide be tried afresh before another judge.
But both Ikuforiji and Atoyebi had filed separate appeals against the Court of Appeal’s decision and went to the Supreme Court in 2016.
At the resumed hearing of their retrial today, EFCC lawyer, Mr. Ekeli Iheanaho, told the court that his agency, has an amended 54 count-charge against the duo and urged the court to allow the take their plea on the amended charge.
Their lawyer, Mr. Dele Adesina (SAN) told the court that his clients were not served with the amended charge.
But the presiding judge, Justice Muhammed Liman, told the court that the amended charge was not different from the previous charge.
Consequently, Justice Liman, ordered that the charge be read to the defendants.
Both Ikuforiji and Atoyebi pleaded not guilty to the amended charge.
Following their not guilty plea, the prosecutor, Iheanacho, asked the court for a trial date and went further and urged the court to remand the defendants pending the determination of the charge.
But Justice Liman turned down Iheanacho’s remand request on the ground that the defendants were formerly on bail.
Upon the agreement of prosecution and defence team, the court adjourned till February 5 and 19, 2020, for commencement of Ikuforiji and Atoyebi’s trial.