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Trial of ex-Lagos Speaker Ikuforiji stalled

A FEDERAL High Court in Lagos adjourned on Wednesday until March 18 for continuation of trial of a former Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji.

Ikuforiji is currently standing trial for N338.8 million money laundering.

He is facing trial alongside his former Personal Assistant, Oyebode Atoyebi, on 54 counts.

They pleaded not guilty before Justice Mohammed Liman, and were allowed to continue on bail earlier granted them.

The trial of the defendants, which was scheduled to resume on Wednesday, could not proceed due to unavailability of exhibits.

The court had called counsel for both prosecution and defence into chambers.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) later gathered from the counsel that exhibits to be used in the trial were unavailable, as the case had gone on appeal even to the Supreme Court.

Prosecution said that it had written to the Supreme Court on the exhibits and was still awaiting its response.

NAN reports that the defendants were first arraigned on March 1, 2012, before Justice Okechukwu Okeke on a 20-count charge bordering on misappropriation and money laundering.

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They had pleaded not guilty to all the counts and were granted bail.

The defendants were, however, subsequently re-arraigned before Justice Ibrahim Buba, following a re-assignment of the case.

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

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

Buba had held that the EFCC failed to establish a prima-facie case against them.

Dissatisfied with the ruling, the EFCC through its counsel, Mr Godwin Obla (SAN), filed a notice of appeal dated Sept. 30, 2014 challenging the decision of the trial court.

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