Thursday, October 24, 2019 12:38 pm
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission today re-arraigned a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, Professor Maurice Iwu. This is over alleged laundering of N1.23billion on four counts before the Federal High Court in Lagos, Lagos state, south west Nigeria.
Iwu was arraigned during judiciary vacation before a vacation judge, Professor Chuka Obiozor. Later the case file was re-assigned to another judge, Nicholas Oweibo.
When the charge was read to him, he pleaded not guilty. Thereafter his counsel Mr A. A. Usman ,in oral application, urged the court to allow him to continue on his former bail which he was granted when he was first arraigned before the court.
Mr Usmam further told the court that since Iwu was granted bail he has kept to the terms of the bail. The EFCC prosecutor, Barrister Rotimi Oyedepo did not raise any objection
However, Mr Usmam drew the attention of the court to an application filed before the court by the defendant challenging the territorial jurisdiction of the court.
The presiding Judge, Nicholas Oweibo, while acceding to the request of the defence counsel adjourned till 25th November, 2019 for trial to commence.
In the charges, the anti graft agency alleged that Iwu committed the offence in the build-up to the 2015 general elections in which President Muhammadu Buhari defeated the then incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
Iwu between December 2014 and March 27, 2015, was alleged to have aided the concealment of N1.23billion in the account of Bioresources Institute of Nigeria Limited with number 1018603119, domiciled in the United Bank for Africa.
It was further stated that the offence committed by the ex-INEC chairman is 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.
When the charges were read to him then he pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Thereafter based on bail argument canvassed for by his lawyer Mr Hamed Raji and opposed by EFCC prosecutor Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, the presiding vacation judge, Chuka Obiozor admitted him to bail in the following terms :
Iwu admitted to bail in the sum of N1 billion with two sureties in like sum.
The first surety must be resident in Lagos State and must also show evidence of ownership of property in Lagos State and furnish the court with evidence of payment of three years . As proof of address, the surety shall furnish the court with his statement of account with any bank in Nigeria with passport photograph. The bank shall depose to the photograph as true identity of the account holder.
The defendant and sureties shall provide two of their recent passports for court record. The defendant shall cease all manner of communication either directly or by proxy with any of the witnesses the prosecution might intend to call in this matter.
“The second surety must be a civil servant in the state within the grade level 16 or a professor in any of the universities in Nigeria. The second surety shall provide proof of tax for three years prior to today. Must be resident in Lagos and as proof of address, he shall provide statement of account to which a passport photograph will be attached which the bank shall depose as the true identity of the account holder.
“The defendant shall keep the original copy of his international passport with this court and shall not travel outside the country without the approval of this court. Deputy registrar of the Lagos division shall verify all documents submitted by the defendant and sureties.