By Lucky Isibor,
The case between Federal Government and a chieftain of the Edo state All Progressives Congress APC, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Chairman, Edo PDP Chief Dan Orbih, Former Deputy Governor, Chief Lucky Imasuen and two others over money laundering has been adjourned to 2nd March for commencement of hearing.
The adjournment was sequel to granting of a request by the lead Prosecution Counsel Mr L.P Aso that the defendants were unreasonable in their application for adjournment which they pleaded for six months from Thursday, February 13.
Others charged are a former member representing Esan South East and Esan North East federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Tony Azigbemi, and one Efe Erimuoghae Anthony.
The five are facing an eight-count charge of conspiracy with themselves to commit money laundering to the tune of N700 million, an offence contrary to section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended which is punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.
At Thursday’s sitting the lead Prosecution Counsel, Mr L.P Aso has raised objection to an application by the fifth defendant Mr Efe Erimoghae Anthony for an adjournment of the hearing to June owing to a serious illness.
He argued that the language of the application attempted to frustrate the prosecution through unwarranted delay.
Lead Counsel to First defendant ,Mr Kingsley Obamojie, that of the Second defendant, Professor Osas Izebhiuwa and that of the third and fourth defendants, Mr Paschal Ogbome pleaded with the Court to grant the application as the Fifth defendant needed to be a bit healthy to appear in Court for his defense.
They reminded the Court that they have always been present and drew attention to three consecutive instances that they were in Court and the Court did not sit.
The presiding Judge Justice, M.G Umar having listened to their arguments fixed second of March for next hearing maintaining he would not tolerate any form of delay in the Prosecution.
Justice M.G Umar remarked that if the defendants were up to any antics, he may be compelled to revoke the bail granted by the Court.
In his Comments ,Counsel to the third and fourth accused Mr Paschal Ugbome said the Court was fair to all parties but pointed out that whereas it was inevitable for humans to be indispensable, they had actually striven very hard to ensure that the hearing commenced in earnest.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC said the accused were alleged to have made cash payment of N60,650,000 to one Henry Tenebe of Estako West Local Government Area and N61,647,000 to one Momoh Andrew Ojo of Akoko-Edo without going through a financial institution.
In count five, six and seven, they were alleged to have made cash payment of N83,473,000, N125,993,000 and N105,000,000 to Deacon Ezekiel Egharevba, Thomas Aroko and Scott Osagiede respectively without going through a financial institution.