N700m Fraud: The trial of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the September 19, gubernatorial election in Edo State and four others in the alleged N700 million fraud case preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was stalled on Thursday due to the absence of the trial judge, Justice Umar Garba.
Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu was also absent in Court, while his Counsel, Barrister Peter Uwadiae was present.
Counsel to the 3rd defendant, Pascal Ugbome, told journalists in Benin City, that parties in the suit picked the date.
The case was adjourned to July 7, 2020.
The Court had on June 18, 2020 validated the corruption charges against the defendants and adjourned the case to Thursday, July, 02, 2020, for further hearing.
Speaking on Thursday, Ugbome explained: “It is a normal occurrence in court activities. It is nothing unusual and nothing unnatural for the court to adjourn the matter. The court has said that their hands are full, and so they have to reschedule the matter according to their convenience.”
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Former deputy governor of Edo State, Mr. Lucky Imasuen, who is also joined in the suit, was seen in the company of Mr. Washington Osifo in Court on Thursday.
Security presence was visible at strategic locations and in the court premises.
The EFCC, in Suit No. FHC/BE21C/ 2016, said Ize-Iyamu and four others allegedly received public funds illegally to the tune of N700 million for the purpose of the 2015 general elections, contrary to the provisions of the EFCC Act and the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.
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Other defendants in the suit include former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Mr. Lucky Imasuen; Efe Erimuoghae Anthony and two others.
One of the counts reads: That you Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Lucky Imasuen, Tony Azigbemi, Chief Dan Orbih, Efe Erimuoghae Anthony and Chief Anthony Anenih (now at large) sometime March 2015 in Benin within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did directly take possession and control of the sum of 700,000,000.00 (seven hundred million naira) only, without any contract award which sum you reasonably ought to have known, form part of proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit; fraud and corruption; and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Amendment Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3)of the same Act.