A Federal High Court, Benin City, Edo State, yesterday, ruled that it has jurisdiction to entertain the money laundering charge against Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the 2016 governorship election, Osagie Ize–Iyamu.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had preferred the case against Ize-Iyamu, former Deputy Governor, Lucky Imasuen, former state PDP Chairman, Dan Orbih, Tony Aziegbemi and Efe Erimuoghae.
They were alleged to have taken possession of N700 million in March 2015 without any contract award, as part of proceeds of an unlawful act, to which they pleaded not guilty, which set the stage for their trial.
Counsel to the first defendant, Charles Edosomwan (SAN), however, challenged the court’s jurisdiction to hear the matter on the grounds that the charges were based on election matter.
He argued that the appropriate court to try electoral matter was the Magistrate or High Court of the state.
In his ruling, Justice M. G. Umar, said the matter bordered on money laundering, which the Federal High Court had exclusive jurisdiction over and therefore, dismissed their application.
He reprimanded the defendants for filing the motion, which he said, was intended to waste time of the court and adjourned the case to May 18, 2021 for further hearing.