The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday re-arraigned a former Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mrs. Jumoke Akinjide, and two other chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State over an alleged N650m.fraud.
The trio of Akinjide, a daughter to a former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation during the second republic, Chief Richard Akinjide and Senator Ayo Adeseun who represented Oyo Central Senatorial District between 2011 and 2015 and Olanrewaju Otiti a chieftain of the PDP in Oyo State were charged with the fraud by the anti-graft agency.
At Wednesday’s proceedings, EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo informed the court of an amended 24-counts charge preferred against the defendants.
Oyedepo urged the court to allow the defendants to be re-arraigned in the amended charges.
Akinjide and her co-defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were re-arraigned.
Subsequently, Cheif Bolaji Ayorinde SAN who is representing Akinjide orally applied that court to allow his client to continue on the existing bail granted to her by the previous court.
Michael Lana and Oladiji Akinola who appeared for Senator Adeseun and Olarewaju Otiti respectively made the same prayer to court and urged the court them continue on the existing bail conditions.
But Rotimi applied that the court should impose fresh bail conditions that will ensure the presence of defendants to stand their trial.
“My Lord the prosecution is worried about how this case has travelled from Ibadan to Lagos.
“My Lord will be the fourth judge that will handle this case at the instance of the defence.
“Our fear is that these defendants are interfering with the quick dispensation of justice in this case and the interest of justice will be better served if the defendants file motion for bail, so that we can respond to it by place the reason why these defendants should not be granted bail and we can only place that fact before my Lord by way of affidavit,” Oyedepo said.
Justice Chukujekwu Aneke in his short ruling granted the oral application of the defendants to continue on the existing bail earlier granted to them by the former trial judge.
The defendants also informed the court of their motion challenging the constitutionality of the charge.
Justice Aneke adjourned trial in the case to 30th of September and 11th October respectively.
Recall that Akinjide was first arraigned on January 16, 2018, before Justice Sule Hassan alongside Adeseun and Otiti charge bordering on fraud and money laundering.
They, however, pleaded not guilty and were granted bail.
The trial began before Hassan, with witnesses testifying, but midway, the case was transferred to Justice Aneke.
One of the charges read, “that you, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke (still at large), Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, Senator Ayo Ademola Adeseun and Chief Olanrewaju Otiti, on or about the 26th day of March, 2015, in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired amongst yourselves to directly take possession of a N650,000,000, which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) and 4 of the same Act.”
The EFCC claimed that the defendants received money from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.
The money was part of the fund allegedly shared by the PDP stalwarts during the 2015 campaigns.
The money, according to the anti-graft agency, was said to form part of a total sum of 115 million dollars allegedly disbursed by Alison-Madueke to influence the outcome of the 2015 Presidential Election.