Osaze Christopher ,Benin
The Federal High Court sitting in Benin City has adjourned the money laundering case instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Pastor Osagie Ize -Iyamu, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Edo State in 2016 election and four others to July 2.
The other four defendants are Lucky Imasuen, former deputy governor of Edo State, Chief Dan Orbih, PDP chairman in Edo State; Tony Aziegbemi and Efe Erimuoghae.
At Thursday’s sitting, prosecution counsel, Francis Jibro, told the court that the matter was for ruling on the competence of the eight-count charges preferred against the defendants. The presiding judge, Justice M. G. Umar ruled that the charges filed by the commission against the defendants were not defective. The defendants, had at the last sitting, challenged the charges on the ground that they contained the name of Chief Tony Anenih, who is now deceased.
Soon after the ruling, counsel to the first defendant, Charles Edosomwan, SAN, told the court that he has filed a motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court.
“In spite of the ruling, we have a motion dated June 1, 2020, challenging the jurisdiction of this honourable court to entertain proceedings.”
The same position was canvassed by counsels to the other defendants.
However, Jibro told the court that based on the ruling of the court, which found the charges not defective, the next thing was for the defendants to take their pleas. He told the court that the defence counsels were not to dictate to the court.
“The stage is set for us to proceed based on the ruling of the court this morning, not this motion. My Lord has ruled that any objection can be taken after plea has been taken. No exception.”
Ferdinand Orbih (SAN), counsel to Dan Orbih, said he was not challenging the ruling of court, but the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court to hear the matter.