Friday, 7 March 2014
Lagos Speaker, Ikuforiji: EFCC Witness Tenders Damning Evidence in Court
Justice Okechukwu Okeke of the Federal High Court, Lagos has fixed February 18-21, 2013, for continuation of trial in the money laundering charge preferred against the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, and his personal assistant, Oyebode Alade Atoyebi by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
At the resumed hearing today, Adebayo Adeniyi, an operative of the EFCC, told the court that during the investigation, it was discovered that cash payments above the approved limit in the House of Assembly were made to or given to the first accused, Mr. Ikuforiji through Mr. Atoyebi, the second. He further told the court that the second accused person admitted collecting cash payments on behalf of the 1st accused.
The revelations were made by Mr. Adeniyi while being led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Godwin Obla. Adeniyi said his team recovered some registers from the Account Department of the Lagos State House of Assembly. The names of the registers were WEMA register, ETB register, Bulk Register and Chico Registers.
The registers, he explained, were used for financial transactions by the Account Department of the House of Assembly, and showed the signatures, names of recipients, date, amount and mode of payments, such as cash or cheques. The documents were admitted by the court as exhibits.
Further examination of the witness could not go on, however, as original copies of the documents which were already in possession of the court could not be produced as the keys to the safe were said not to be available.
Last March, Ikuforiji and his personal assistant were arraigned on 20 counts of allegedly conspiring to commit an illegal act of accepting cash payments amounting to over N273 million from the House without going through a financial institution, thereby committing an offence contrary to sections 18(a) the money laundering (prohibition) Act 2011 and punishable under sections 16(2) (b) of the same act.