The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has re-arraigned a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Jumoke Akinjide before a Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos.
Akinjide was re-arraigned before Justice Muslim Hassan on a 24 count charge.
She was charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission alongside a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is said to be at large.
Others named in the charge are Senator Ayo Adeseun and a Chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olarenwaju Otiti.
They were all accused of conspiring to directly take possession of N650million, which they reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.
The defendants allegedly received the money from Mrs Alison-Madueke in the build-up to the 2015 general election.
The money was said to be part of a larger sum of $115 million allegedly doled out by Mrs Alison-Madueke to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.
One of the charges reads in part: “That you, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke (still at large), Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, Senator Ayo Ademola Adeseun and Chief Olarenwaju Otiti on or about the 26th day of March, 2015, in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to directly take possession of the N650 million which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.
“That you, Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, Senator Ayo Ademola Adeseun and Chief Olanrewaju Otiti on or about the 26th day of March, 2015 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did conspire amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit: making cash payment of the sum of N650 million which sum exceeded the amount authorized by Law without going through financial institution and you thereby committed an offence.”
Last year June, the EFCC had arraigned the defendants before Justice Joyce Abdulmalik sitting at the Federal High Court, Ibadan but the case was transferred to Lagos and this necessitated today’s re-arraignment.
At today’s proceeding, the EFCC arraigned Ms. Akinjide on 9 out of the 24 count charge. She pleaded not guilty.
The second defendant, Senator Ayo Adeseun pleaded not guilty to 17 out of the 24 count charge made against him while the third defendant, Chief Olanrewaju Otiti also pleaded not guilty to 6 of the counts.
Counsel to Akinjide, Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, then asked the court to allow his client to continue to enjoy bail as earlier granted by the Federal High Court Sitting in Ibadan.
The counsel to the second and third defendant aligned themselves with this request on behalf of their clients.
Justice Muslim Hassan granted the request and ordered that the defendants should continue to enjoy bail.
He then adjourned their trial till February 5, 2018.