Justice M. G. Umar of a Federal High Court, Benin City, Edo State has adjourned the trial of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, a former governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the state to March 2, 2020.
Ize-Iyamu, is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, alongside Lucky Imasuen, former deputy governor of Edo State, Chief Dan Orbih, PDP chairman in Edo State; Tony Aziegbemi and Efe Erimuoghae.
At today’s sitting, the case was stalled due to the absence of the fifth defendant, Erimuoghae who was said to be ill.
Counsel for the EFCC, Larry Peters Aso, told the court that he was shocked that Erimuoghae’s counsel wrote a letter to the court seeking that the case be adjourned to June.
He said: “It is a ploy to frustrate the trial.
“His counsel told me that his client would not be in court due to illness but to request for a six months adjournment should be disregarded.”
Counsel for the first defendant, K. O. Obamugie asked the court to adjourn for a reasonable length of time to enable the defendant recover properly in order to be able to face his trial. The same argument was canvassed by Professor O. G. Izevbuwa, counsel for the second defendant.
However, Justice Umar adjourned the case to March 2, 2020 and ordered that the defendant should do all that is necessary to be in court on the adjourned date.
It will be recalled that they were first arraigned before Justice P. I. Ajoku on an eight-count charge bordering on money laundering on May 24, 2018.
They were alleged to have sometime in March 2015, in Benin City directly taken possession of the sum of N700million without any contract award which sum was allegedly part of proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: fraud and corruption.
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 in March 2015 in Benin, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did directly take possession and control of the sum of N700,000,000.00 (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.”