Court Aquits Ex-Lagos Speaker Of N300m Money Laundering Charge

A Federal High Court in Lagos State has acquitted and discharged Adeyemi Ikuforiji, a former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, of a N338.8 million money laundering charge.

The court on Monday also discharged Oyebode Atoyebi, a personal assistant to Ikuforiji, who was arraigned alongside the former speaker.

Ikuforiji served as the speaker of Lagos state assembly from 2005 to 2015.

The former speaker and his aide were arraigned on a 54-count charge bordering on alleged money laundering.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) accused the Ikuforiji and Atoyebi of allegedly accepting cash payments of N338.8 million from the House of Assembly without going through a financial institution.

Ikuforiji and Atoyebi were first arraigned in March 2012 before Okechukwu Okeke, a Judge at the Federal High Court, on a 20-count charge bordering on misappropriation and money laundering.

The defendants pleaded not guilty and were granted bail.

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However, they were re-arraigned before Judge Ibrahim Buba, after the case was reassigned.

Buba granted them bail in the sum of N500 million each, with sureties in like sum.

On September 26, 2014, the judge discharged Ikuforiji and his aide of the charges after upholding a no-case submission by the defendants.

Dissatisfied with the decision of the federal high court, the EFCC approached the appeal court.

In November 2016, the appeal court ruled that the money laundering trial against the defendants must continue.

The defendants approached the Supreme Court after the ruling of the appeal court.

In its verdict, the apex court upheld the decision of the court of appeal and ordered that the case be sent back to the chief judge of the federal high court for reassignment.

The case was then returned to the federal high court for continuation of trial.