N700m suit: Court fixes March 26 for ruling on applications

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Benin

Justice M.G. Umar of the Federal High Court in Benin City has fixed March 26, 2020 for the ruling on applications filed by former Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) governorship candidate in Edo state, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

Other applicatants are: the state PDP Chairman, Chief Dan Orbih, former Deputy Governor, Mr, Lucky Imasuen, former member of the House of Representatives, Tony Azegbemi and Efe Anthony.

They are challenging the competency of the court to hear charges preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Duaglobalnees recalled that the anti-graft agency, in Suit No. FHC/BE21C/ 2016, had filed eight count charges against the accused, bordering on alleged illegal receipt of N700 million, being public fund, for the purpose of the 2015 general election.

This according to EFCC is contrary to the provisions of the EFCC Act and the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.

The EFCC further accused the defendants of conspiring, among themselves, to commit the offence in March, 2015, alleging that they took possession and control of the funds without any contract award.

On resumption of hearing, Counsel to the five defendants: Ferdinand Orbih SAN, Kingsley Obamogie Esq, Pascal Ugbome Esq, Prof. O.G Izevbuwa Esq, Ikhide Ehighalua Esq, after adopting their writing addresses, urged the court to strike out the charges against the defendants on the ground that it was incompetent.

They further argued that the prosecutioner’s reply to their addresses was in gross valuation of the Legal Practitioners Act, Rule 10 (1), (2) (3) of the Rules for Professional conduct of legal practitioners.

They averred that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case, because the petitioner’s reply was filed out of time.

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