A Federal High Court in Benin, Edo State, has fixed July 2, 2020 for commencement of a fraud case instituted against All Progressives Congress governorship aspirant, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, which had failed to begin over two years after they were first arraigned in court.
Ize-Iyamu, who was the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in 2016, was charged alongside a former Minister of Works, Tony Anenih; a former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Lucky Imasuen; the PDP Chairman in Edo State, Chief Dan Orbih; and two others for money laundering to the tune of N700m.
However, the presiding judge, Justice P.I Ajoku, was transferred and the case had to begin all over again.
The case was subsequently re-assigned to Justice M.G Umar.
When the matter came up on March 2, 2020, the case again could not go on as the lawyers to the defendants urged the court to strike out the charges because Anenih, who was named as a co-defendant, had died and the charges had yet to be amended.
However, the counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Larry Peters, told the court of the prosecution’s readiness to proceed with the case and prayed the court to order the defendants to take their plea.
Ize-Iyamu’s lawyer, K.O. Obamugie, told the court that there were flaws in the charges brought against his client and that he had filed a motion challenging the charges.
He also told the court that Anenih was dead and that the prosecution had not amended the charges to reflect that.
The same argument was canvassed by the defence team, who argued that there was no dispute that Chief Anenih was dead and so his name ought to be struck out from the charge.
Peters, however, raised objections to their submissions as he said that the process filed was “very competent” and adhered to laid down procedures.
He further argued that mentioning Anenih’s name in the charge was to situate the matter and to show the date the alleged offence was committed.