Justice Chukwujekwu Anieke of Federal High Court sitting in Lagos Tuesday, June 11, 2019 adjourned the re-arraignment of a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Oloye Jumoke Akinjide to June 26, 2019.
The re-arraignment scheduled for today has an amended 24- count, wherein Akinjide is charged alongside Senator Ayo Adeseun and a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart, Chief Olanrewaju Otiti, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
However, the defendants could not be re-arraigned today due to an issue raised by the prosecution. At the proceedings, prosecution counsel, Usman Buhari raised an oral application before the court, seeking the transfer of the matter back to Justice Muslim S. Hassan who had hitherto presided over the case before it was transferred to Justice Anieke for arraignment today. He therefore urged the court to return the matter to Justice Hassan.
Buhari told the court that, according to Section 89(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), Justice Anieke cannot hear or determine the case as the prosecution has called two witnesses before Justice Hassan.
Opposing the application of the prosecution, the defence team told the court that the matter can be heard and determined by Justice Anieke because it was reassigned by the Chief Judge of Federal High Court.
However, Justice Anieke told the EFCCcounsel to file a formal application to enable the court hear the prayer of the EFCC seeking the transfer of the N650 million money laundering case involving the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Jumoke Akinjide and the co-defendants to Justice Hassan.
“I do not have any application of such before, so counsel must file the application formally before the court can hear it”, Justice Anieke said. The defendants were earlier re-arraigned before Justice Hassan on January 16, 2018 on the amended charge preferred against them by the EFCC.
They all pleaded not guilty to the charge. They were alleged to have received the money from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the build-up to the 2015 general election.
The money was part of the $115 million allegedly disbursed by Alison-Madueke to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election. Justice Anieke adjourned the case to June 26, 2019 for re-arraignment.