The money laundering case brought against the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the recent election in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize -Iyamu, and four others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was yesterday adjourned till January 14, 2021 by a Federal High Court sitting in Benin City, Edo State.
Ize-Iyamu was the PDP governorship candidate in Edo State in 2016 election, when he was alleged to have committed the offence by the EFCC.
The other four defendants are Lucky Imasuen, former deputy governor of Edo State; Chief Dan Orbih, former PDP chairman in Edo State; Tony Aziegbemi and Efe Erimuoghae.
At yesterday’s sitting, counsel to the first defendant, Charles Edosomwan (SAN), informed the court that he has filed a motion challenging its jurisdiction on the grounds that the charge filed against the defendants are based on election matters.
According to him, the appropriate court to try electoral matter was the Magistrate Court or High Court of the state.
The same argument was canvassed by the counsel to the other defendants.
However, the prosecuting counsel, Francis A. Jirbo countered the argument with the submission that the information before the court is a money laundering charge for which the Federal High Court has exclusive jurisdiction.
After listening to both counsel, Justice M. G. Umar adjourned the case to January 14, 2021 for ruling.
Ize-Iyamu and other defendants were first arraigned before Justice P. I. Ajoku on an eight count charge bordering on money laundering on May 24, 2018.
The defendants were alleged to have sometime in March 2015 in Benin City directly taken possession of the sum of N700, 000,000 without any contract award which sum was allegedly part of proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: fraud and corruption.