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Court adjourns case against Ikuforiji, Atoyebi

22 November 2013, 09:56

Lagos - A Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed December 2 to continue hearing in the case of alleged money laundering against the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, and his Personal Assistant, Oyebode Atoyebi.

Before adjourning the matter on Thursday, the EFCC, which instituted the suit against Ikuforiji, told the court that the accused received cash payments from the assembly’s accounts section 57 times.

Led in evidence by the EFCC Counsel, Godwin Obla (SAN), a witness, Adewbayo Adedeji, said that four cash registers recovered from the assembly during investigation into the matter confirmed the cash transactions.

Adedeji, an Investigating Police Officer with the EFCC, stated that statements obtained from some top officers of the assembly also confirmed the payments to the speaker.

He gave the names of the assembly staff as Adewale Olatunji, a former Clerk of the House; Toyin Atekoja, the Accountant to the assembly; Rotimi Abiru, Director of Finance and Kolawole Taiwo, Deputy Speaker of the house.

"The cash registers recovered were analysed and we discovered that various sums of money were released to the second accused in favour of the first accused and these monies were above the threshold stipulated by the Money Laundering Act.

"The second accused also made two statements, revealing that he received payments on behalf of the first accused on several occasions and that all the payments were made to him in cash.

 "The Accounts Officer, Atekoja, also made a statement, confirming that she released various sums of money to the second accused in favour of the first accused which were all in cash," Adedeji testified.

The witness also told the court that the first accused also made two statements, admitting that the second accused had been receiving cash payments on his behalf since he assumed office as his personal assistant.

 He said that Ikuforiji had further stated in his statement that cash payments had been the "tradition" of the assembly since he became the speaker.

The prosecutor tendered cash registers and statements of the first and second accused as evidence.

After the testimony of the witness, the Presiding Judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba, adjourned the case to December. 2 “for continuation of trial”.

The EFCC had on June 24 re-arraigned the accused before Justice Buba on an amended 54-count charge.

In the charge, the prosecution had alleged that the accused conspired between April, 2010 and July 2011, to commit an illegal act of accepting cash payments amounting to N273 303 million from the assembly without going through a financial institution.

 It was also alleged that Ikuforiji used his position to misappropriate about N500 million of the house’s funds.

 The offences were said to have contravened the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.

The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail in the sum of one billion naira each with two sureties in the sum of N500 million each.

 - NAN


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