Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday re-arraigned the former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Maurice Iwu before the Federal High Court in Lagos over an alleged fraud of N1.23 billion, bail.

The EFCC re-arraigned the former INEC boss following the reassignment of his case file to Justice Nicholas Oweibo from Justice Chuka Obiozor, who sat as a vacation judge when Iwu was first arraigned.

Professor Iwu was docked before the new judge on a four-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering.

According to the anti-graft agency the accused person committed the offence in the build-up to the 2015 general elections in which President Muhammadu Buhari defeated then incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.

The EFCC also alleged that Iwu aided and concealed the total sum of N1.203 billion, which was said to be proceed of unlawful act.

The anti-graft agency further claimed that the accused person had between December 2015 and March 27, 2015, used his company, Bioresources Institute of Nigeria (BION) Limited, whose account with number 1018603119 domiciled in Untied Bank of Africa (UBA) Plc to launder the money.

The EFCC also alleged that Professor Iwu and a lawyer, Victor Chukwuani retained the sum of N407 million, said to be proceed of unlawful act, in Bioresources Institute of Nigeria (BION) Limited’s Account No. 1018603119 domiciled in the United Bank for Africa Plc.

The offences according to the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo are contrary to sections 18(a),15(2) (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15 ( 3) of the same Act”.

The former INEC boss, however pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

He was then allowed by Justice Oweibo to continue to enjoy the terms of the bail earlier granted to him by Justice Obiozor.

The bail conditions included: N1 billion with two sureties in like sum, one of the sureties must own a landed property in Lagos.

While the other must be a professor or a civil servant not below Grade Level 16.

The judge had further held that the sureties must furnish the court with the statement of their bank accounts, showing a minimum balance of N1 billion.

The court stated, “The first surety shall be resident in Lagos State and shall transmit his land use as evidence of ownership of property in Lagos State and furnish the court with evidence of payment of tax from three years prior to today.

“As proof of address the defendant shall furnish the court with his statement of account with any bank in Nigeria with passport photograph. The bank shall depose to the photograph as true identity of the account holder.”

“The defendant and sureties shall provide two of their recent passport for court record. The defendant shall cease all manner of communication either directly or by proxy with any of the witness the prosecution might call in this matter.

“The second surety must be a civil servant in the state within the grade of level 16 or a professor in any of the universities in Nigeria. The second surety shall provide proof of tax for three years prior to today.

The judge has fixed November 25 for commencement of trial.

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