Judge’s absence stalls Ize-Iyamu’s N700m fraud case

A Federal High Court sitting in Benin City, Edo State, on Thursday adjourned till July 7 the trial of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the September 19 election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and four others.

Ize-Iyamu and the four others are standing trial over an alleged N700m fraud case preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The anti-graft agency had filed eight-count charges against the accused bordering on alleged illegal receipt of public funds to the tune of N700m for the 2015 general elections.

The EFCC further accused the defendants of conspiring among themselves to commit the offence in March 2015, alleging that they took possession and control of the fund without any contract award.

The other accused are a former state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dan Orbih; the incumbent chairman, Tony Aziegbemi; a former deputy governor of Edo State, Lucky Imasuen, and Efe Erimuoghae-Anthony.

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The presiding Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Umar Garba, was absent in the Thursday sitting.

Although Ize-Iyamu was also absent in court, his counsel, Mr Peter Uwadiae was present. The former deputy governor, Imasuen, was also present.

Counsel for the 2nd defendant (Tony Aziegbemi), Mr Pascal Ogbome, told journalists that parties in the suit picked July 7.

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