Alleged N650m Money Laundering Court strikes Out Charge Against Akinjide, Two Others

A file photo of a court gavel.

 

The Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos has struck out the charge against a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide and two others on allegations of fraud and money laundering to the tune of N650m.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke struck out the charge for being incompetent.

The former minister was standing trial alongside a former Senator who represented Oyo Central Senatorial District between 2011 and 2015, Senator Ayo Adeseun and a PDP Chieftain, Mrs Olanrewaju Otiti.

They were alleged to have received monies from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.

The money was said to be part of the $115 million allegedly disbursed by Alison-Madueke, to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.

They had all pleaded not guilty to the charge after which trial commenced in the matter.

The defendants chalk Ed the trial and asked that the case be struck out. They also insisted that they could only be tried in the division where the offences allegedly took place.

READ ALSO: Court Convicts Ponzi Scheme Operator In Kano, Orders Return of N110m To Victims

In his ruling on the application, Justice Aneke held that pursuant to Section 45 of the Federal High Court Act, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court has the overriding powers to transfer any matter from one judge to another, within the jurisdiction of the court.

The judge also held that the charge was vague and defective as it did not specifically mention where the offences were allegedly committed.


The defendants were first arraigned on Jan. 16, 2018, before Muslim Hassan on a 24-count charge to which they pleaded not guilty.

They were granted bail and trial began before Justice Hassan with witnesses testifying, but midway into the case, the defendants alleged bias against the judge and the case was then transferred to Justice Aneke.

One of the counts reads, “That you, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke (still at large), Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, Senator Ayo Ademola Adeseun and Chief Olanrewaju Otiti, on or about the 26th day of March 2015, in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired amongst yourselves to directly take possession of an N650,000,000, which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) and 4 of the same Act.”

Alleged Money Laundering: Court Strikes Out Charge Against Jumoke Akinjide, Two Others

A file photo of a signpost of the Federal High Court in the Ikoyi area of Lagos State.

 

The Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos has struck out the charge against a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide and 2 others on allegations of fraud and money laundering to the tune of N650m.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke struck out the charge for being incompetent.

The former minister was standing trial alongside a former Senator who represented Oyo Central Senatorial District between 2011 and 2015, Senator Ayo Adeseun and a PDP Chieftain, Mrs Olanrewaju Otiti.

They were alleged to have received monies from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.

The money was said to be part of the $115 million allegedly disbursed by Alison-Madueke, to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election

They had all pleaded not guilty to the charge after which trial commenced in the matter.

The defendants chalk Ed the trial and asked that the case be struck out. They also insisted that they could only be tried in the division where the offences allegedly took place.

In his ruling on the application, Justice Aneke held that pursuant to Section 45 of the Federal High Court Act, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court has the overriding powers to transfer any matter from one judge to another, within the jurisdiction of the court.

The judge also held that the charge was vague and defective as it did not specifically mention where the offences were allegedly committed.

The defendants were first arraigned on Jan. 16, 2018, before Muslim Hassan on a 24-count charge to which they pleaded not guilty.

They were granted bail and trial began before Justice Hassan with witnesses testifying, but midway into the case, the defendants alleged bias against the judge and the case was then transferred to Justice Aneke.

One of the counts reads, “That you, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke (still at large), Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, Senator Ayo Ademola Adeseun and Chief Olanrewaju Otiti, on or about the 26th day of March, 2015, in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired amongst yourselves to directly take possession of a N650,000,000, which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of  proceeds of an unlawful act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) and 4 of the same Act.”

Former Attorney-General Richard Akinjide Is Dead

Former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Richard Akinjide, died on April 21, 2020.

 

 

A former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Richard Akinjide, is dead.

Akinjide died in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital in the early hours of Tuesday after a brief illness aged 89.

A former Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Jumoke Akinjide, confirmed the death of the former attorney-general to Channels Television.

Jumoke, who is the daughter of the legal icon, revealed that her father died just after midnight at the UCH in Oyo State.

The Public Relations Officer at the UCH, Mr Toye Akinrinlola, also confirmed the death of the former AGF.

He, however, said he was brought in dead to the UCH in the very early hours of the day and taken to the morgue around 3am.

Alleged N650m Money Laundering: Court Dismisses Otiti’s Application To Travel Abroad

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday asked a Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos to dismiss an application filed by a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mrs Olanrewaju Otiti, seeking the release of her international passport to travel abroad for medical treatment.

Mrs Otiti is currently standing trial alongside a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide and another PDP chieftain, Senator Ayo Ademola Adeseun over an alleged N650 million money laundering charge.

In an application which was brought pursuant to the court’s laws and rules, Mrs Otiti is seeking the variation of her bail conditions to allow her access to her international passport for a foreign medical trip.

READ ALSO: Court Orders Detention Of Dalori For Alleging Diverting $2.8m, N6.5bn

Arguing the application, her lawyer, Akinola Oladeji, pleaded with the court to grant his client permission to travel abroad because of her failing health.

“We have attached her medical report dated 11th July, 2018, from the University College Hospital (UCH) as well as her medical history from 2009 up till 2019 to prove the urgency of the matter”, the lawyer said.

In opposing Otiti’s application, the EFCC alleged that she is a flight risk and that it will be difficult to extradite her back to Nigeria if she decides to jump bail.

In a counter affidavit deposed to by one of its operatives, John Micheal Idoko, the EFCC while arguing that the court’s jurisdiction does not extend beyond the shores of Nigeria also maintained that there was no referral note from any hospital for Otiti to travel for any medical treatment.

The commission also stresses that Mrs Otiti had not placed any evidence before the court to show that her ailment cannot be treated in Nigeria.

“There is no fact within the content of this application and the supporting documents filed by the applicant did not state reasonable ground for this Honourable Court to grant her application but only to cast doubt in the mind of the court due to its variation.

“Should the Honourable Court be inclined to granting the application, conditions that will ensure the applicant return to face her trial must be attached”, the deponent averred.

Justice Nicholas Oweibo has reserved his ruling on the issue till Wednesday.

The defendants are currently standing trial on an amended 24-count charge of alleged N650 million money laundering.

The money was said to be part of the $115 million allegedly shared by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, to influence the outcome of the 2015 general election.

Alleged Fraud: EFCC Insists Akinjide’s Case Be Heard In Lagos

Alleged Fraud: EFCC Insists Akinjide's Case Be Heard In Lagos

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday insisted that the N650 million alleged fraud case it instituted against a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mrs Jumoke Akinjide, and two others must be heard at the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court.

The anti-graft agency said motions filed by Akinjide’s co-accused, Senator Ayo Adeseun and Mrs Olanrewaju Otiti, seeking the transfer of the case to the Ibadan Division of the Federal High Court was unmeritorious and should be dismissed.

Arguing the counter affidavits filed by the commission against the two motions, counsel to the EFCC, Nnaemeka Omewa, maintained that the defendants’ rights of being charged in a court within 40km radius of where the alleged offence was committed has been upheld with the filing of a charge against them at a Federal High Court in Ibadan.

He added that all the defendants were also duly arraigned at a Federal High Court in Ibadan before Akinjide’s petition to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul-Kafarati, led to the transfer of the case to Lagos.

“Investigation of this case was done in Lagos and the prosecution has followed the Constitution in arraigning the defendants in Ibadan before the first defendant petitioned the Chief Judge for the transfer of the case to Lagos”, Omewa said.

The prosecution counsel stated that Section 98 (1) (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) equally forbids the Chief Judge from transferring a case in which the prosecution has already called its witness.

He then urged the court to dismiss the motions and continue with the hearing of the case.

Arguing his client’s motion, Adeseun’s lawyer, Micheal Lana, told the court that every ingredient of the case took place in Ibadan.

He disclosed that his client was not aware of the petition written by Akinjide to the Chief Judge seeking the transfer of the case to Lagos.

“The second defendant (Adeseun) had never asked that the matter should be transferred to Lagos and his consent was never sought by anyone in that regard,” Lana said.

“Everything needed to defend this case including the polling agents in the 1,955 polling units of the senatorial district of my client were scattered across villages in Oyo State. The defendant has no means of bringing those witnesses to Lagos.”

The same point was also canvassed by Otiti’s lawyer, Akinola Ayodeji.

Ayodeji was, however, particular about the fact that he had filed a motion seeking the transfer of the case to Ibadan prior to the re-arraignment of his client in Ibadan.

He said, “We filed our motion before the re-arraignment immediately after the matter was transferred to Lagos.

“The third defendant (Otiti) has 65 witnesses spread over six of the nine local governments covered by the senatorial district in which she contested the election in Oyo State.

“The witnesses to be called are within these six local governments and it will cost a lot of money to bring them to Lagos,” the lawyer told the court.

Ruling on the motions was reserved till November 9.

On January 16, the three defendants were re-arraigned by the anti-graft agency before Justice Muslim Hassan on a 24-count amended charge of alleged N650 million fraud.

Alleged Money Laundering: EFCC Witness Testifies In Akinjide’s Trial

Alleged Money Laundering: EFCC Witness Testifies In Akinjide’s Trial
File photo

 

An investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Usman Zakari, has told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos that a N10million bank draft received from Mr Aliyu Pategi, the husband of a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide, was part of the N650million allegedly traced to her and two others.

Zakari made the disclosure before Justice Muslim Hassan on Monday while testifying in a trial-within-trial ordered by the court.

The trial was to determine the veracity of claims by the former minister and her co-defendants that all their statements to the anti-graft agency were made under duress.

While being cross-examined by Akinjide’s lawyer, Mr Bolaji Ayorinde, the witness said the N10million deposit payment was not the condition upon which Akinjide was released.

He added that the money was paid on August 10, 2016, when Pategi accompanied his wife to the commission’s office.

Zakari said, “On August 9, 2016, the first defendant (Akinjide) and her husband, Aliyu Pategi, were present throughout. I did not ask Pategi to make payment to ensure the release of the first defendant.

“Pategi reported to the EFCC’s office on August 10, 2016, alongside his wife. Neither myself nor any of member of my team interviewed him on the said date. The N10million was paid by the first defendant’s husband on her behalf and the remaining N640million has not been paid”, he stated.

When told by Akinjide’s lawyer that the balance has been paid, Zakari said: “I am aware that the sum of N640million was received from the first defendant in Stanbic IBTC bank draft in another case investigated by a team tagged, HOPST, which was headed by one, Shuaibu Shehu”.

Justice Hassan consequently fixed October 18 for the continuation of the trial.

Alleged Money Laundering: EFCC Insists Akinjide Made Statements Freely

Alleged Money Laundering: Belgore Asks EFCC To Produce Vital Documents
File photo

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has insisted that statements taken from a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide were not obtained by threat or under duress.

An operative of the Commission, Usman Zakari told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Wednesday that the former Minister freely made the statements during her interrogation.

Zakari was testifying in a trial to determine the voluntariness of the statements.

The former minister is standing trial alongside a former Senator, Senator Ayo Adeseun and a PDP Chieftain, Mrs Olanrewaju Otiti, on a 24 counts bordering on allegations of fraud and money laundering to the tune of N650m.

The money was allegedly received from the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke ahead of the 2015 general elections.

At the continuation of the trial within trial today, Lawyer to Ms. Akinjide, Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) asked the EFCC witness if he put questions to the former minister and ordered her to write as dictated, Zakari responded saying, “that was not how it was done. She volunteered to put all that she said during interview into statement. She wrote the statement in the presence of her lawyer”.

Zakari also stated that before Akinjide wrote the statement, she was cautioned, and she proceeded to write the statement in his presence, two of his colleagues (Tosin Owobo & Oluwatoyin Ige), one of her lawyers, and her husband, Hon. Ahmed Pategi.

When asked if his team strictly followed training procedure to interrogate the defendant, the operative said: “we followed the procedure. I am the team leader, I relied on my training and the experience I’ve gathered.

The EFCC operative who said he joined the EFCC in 2004/2005, also told the court that he was trained at the National Crime Agency (NCA), United Kingdom, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Nigeria, in 2015.

Court Orders ‘Trial-within-trial’ In Case Against Akinjide, Others

Court Orders 'Trial Within Trial' In Case Against Akinjide, Others
File photo

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Monday ordered a “trial-within-trial” to determine the voluntariness of certain statements purportedly made by a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mrs Jumoke Akinjide, and two others charged with allegations of fraud and money laundering to the tune of N650million.

Mrs Akinjide is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside a former senator, Ayo Adeseun, and a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olarenwaju Otiti.

Also mentioned in the charge is a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is said to be “at large”.

According to the anti-graft agency, the accused persons all allegedly conspired to directly take possession of N650million which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act which did not go through a financial institution.

At the proceedings today (Monday), the EFCC continued with the testimony of a second prosecution witness, Mr Usman Zakari, who is an investigating officer with the commission.

The witness told the court that his investigations revealed that there were no banking instruments to justify the claims by the defendants that the money came from the PDP.

He also said the former minister, in statements made in the presence of her lawyer, confirmed that she had signed for the payment of the N650 million.

Zakari added that Akinjide had subsequently provided a document stating how the N650million was disbursed without the use of a financial institution.

He told the court that after the second defendant was arrested, he confirmed his details in the documents showing how he signed for the money disbursed to him.

At this stage, the EFCC then sought to tender the statements but the lawyers to the defendants raised objections and submitted that the statements were made under duress and inducement.

They further asked the court to order a trial-within-trial to determine how the statements were extracted.

Despite the objections of the EFCC, Justice Hassan, in a short ruling, ordered a trial-within-trial.

He also adjourned the case till April 23 and 24 for continuation.

Alleged N650m Fraud: Akinjide, Others Ask Court To Ignore EFCC Evidence

 

A former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide, and two others facing trial over an alleged N650 million fraud have asked Justice Muslim Sule Hassan of a Federal High Court to expunge the evidence of an investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Usman Zakari, from the court’s record.

Through their lawyers, Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), Micheal Lana and Akinola Oladeji, the defendants opposed the evidence of the witness regarding a meeting conveyed by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke, at her residence in December 2014.

They described it as hearsay evidence.

Addressing the court on the issue, Ayorinde argued that the witness does not have the latitude to give evidence about the meeting because he did not attend it.

The SAN said evidence of what transpired at the meeting can only be given by those who attended.

“The witness can only say that I discovered that there was a meeting and cannot say what transpired at the meeting because he did not attend it.

“The witness cannot give any further evidence as to what transpired at the meeting. I urged the court to expunge any evidence relating to what transpired at the so-called meeting if ever there was any”, he said.

In his own submissions, 2nd defendant’s lawyer, Micheal Lana, said the witness cannot go beyond his investigation.

“Section 37 of the Evidence Act which deals with hearsay did not exempt an investigative officer from its narration. Also, Section 126 of the same Act which deals with direct oral evidence did not exempt him from stating what he did not hear or perceived.

“The witness can even not be cross-examined about what happened at the meeting because he was not in attendance. What he did not do, he cannot testify on it. I urged the court to expunge his evidence from the record”, the lawyer said.

The 3rd defendant’s lawyer, Akinola Oladeji, also aligned himself with the submissions of the other defence lawyers.

The EFCC, through its lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, is, however, contending that the investigator’s evidence were as a result of his personal findings in the course of investigation.

“The evidence given by PW2 of his investigative findings cannot be hearsay. In view of the fact that the evidence that PW2 gave was the discovery he made in the course of his investigation, the law is settled that such evidence cannot amount to hearsay,” Oyedepo said.

Ruling on the contentious issue has therefore been fixed for April 9.

In his testimony, Zakari had told the court that the meeting was attended by Diezani, the Managing Director of a bank and some oil marketers.

At the meeting, the ex-petroleum minister, according to Zakari, informed the bank’s MD that the oil marketers would be bringing different dollar sums to him, which she instructed the bank chief to help her keep in the bank’s vault until further instructions.

Zakari said pursuant to the meeting, one Autus Integrated Limited took $17.8 million to the bank; another company, Northern Belt Oil and Gas, took $60 million to the bank; while one, Mid-Western Oil Services Limited also paid $9.5 million.

“An individual, Lano Adesanya, brought the sum of $1.8 million. Our findings further revealed that the three oil marketers made payment of the sum of $89 million and some fractions. Investigations further revealed that the then petroleum minister’s aides made available $25 million and some fractions in suitcases, which were warehoused in the bank’s cash vault.

“Upon the receipt of the money by the bank, the former minister instructed it to convert the said amount into naira, precisely on March 26, 2015. The bank complied with the instruction; the said amount was converted into naira to the tune of N23 billion and some fractions.

“After the conversion, the former petroleum minister instructed the bank to pay the 1st defendant (Akinjide) and the 2nd defendant (Senator Ayo Adeseun) and one, Mr. Yinka Taiwo, the sum of N650 million, through her son, Ogbonna Madueke.

“The 1st defendant and the 2nd defendant and Mr. Yinka Taiwo then proceeded to the Dugbe branch of the bank in Ibadan, Oyo State and signed a receipt of payment individually for the collection of N650 million.

“They signed for the money and took it to the residence of the 1st defendant (Akinjide).

“The defendants made a cash payment of N650 million without going through any financial institution, an amount which was more than the amount authorised by law to be paid in cash,” Zakari said.

Court Orders EFCC To Provide Akinjide, Others With Vital Documents

 

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to make some vital documents available to the Former FCT Minister, Jumoke Akinjide and two others, in defence of the N650m Money Laundering Charges against them.

After this directive, Justice Muslim Hassan adjourned the trial to Friday, March 9, 2018.

The directive followed complaints by the defence team that they were yet to be served with certain documents, including reports of investigation, which the prosecution intended to rely upon in the case.

The former FCT Minister, Jumoke Akinjide, and the two others are facing 24 charges bordering on conspiracy and money laundering.

The other defendants are a former Senator, Ayo Adeseun and a PDP Chieftain, Mrs Olanrewaju Otiti.

The trio was arraigned on January 16, 2018, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The anti-graft agency accused them of collecting N650m from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.

The EFCC claimed that they ought to have “reasonably known that the money formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act,” adding that they handled it without going through a financial institution in violation of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act – but they all pleaded not guilty.

A move to explore a plea bargain agreement with the EFCC also fell through and the judge had fixed Thursday the 8th of March for trial.

At the resumed proceedings on Thursday, the defence team, raised objections to the competence of an investigative officer with the EFCC, Usman Zakari, to testify as a witness in the case.

They contended that Zakari’s statement was not frontloaded as part of the proof of evidence made available to them by the prosecution and allowing the investigator to testify would breach their clients’ right to fair hearing under Section 36 of the Constitution.

But the EFCC Prosecutor insisted that the Commission had complied with the necessary requirement of the law.

In a short ruling, Justice Hassan upheld the right of the investigator to testify.

The testimony had barely begun when the defence team objected to his testimony.

The investigator, Zakari had begun by saying, “I know the defendants. Sometime early 2015, the commission received intelligence, a top classified ‘Category A’ intelligence, that sometime late 2014 – that should be in December – there was a meeting at the resident of the then Petroleum Minister.”

But he was interrupted by one of the defence counsel, who argued that this fact was not in the proof of evidence supplied by the EFCC.

The other defence lawyers aligned with him and after long arguments in the issue, Justice Hassan said he would adjourn the case till Friday for the prosecutor to serve the defence with all necessary documents.

On another request made by one of the defendants, Senator Adeseun for the transfer of the case to Ibadan for convenience, the judge said that the issue could only be determined by the Chief Judge of the Court.

The 2nd defendant had told the court that for his client to effectively defend himself, he would need to call no fewer than 65 party leaders in Ibadan as witnesses.

He said it would not be convenient to bring the 65 party leaders from Ibadan to Lagos.

But the EFCC had objected to this request on the ground that the case was formerly in Ibadan, and was transferred to Lagos at the instance of the defendants, particularly the 1st defendant.

EFCC Rejects Ex-Minister Akinjide’s Plea Bargain Offer

EFCC Rejects Ex-Minister Akinjide's Plea Bargain Offer
File photo

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has rejected the plea bargain offer of a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Ms Jumoke Akinjide.

According to the anti-graft commission’s lawyer, Nnemeke Omenwa, the agency would instead proceed with the trial.

At the last sitting of the court on February 6, the EFCC had admitted to the court that it had recovered the N650m allegedly laundered by Ms Akinjide and two others.

The Commission had, however, emphasised that the case before the court was not merely about the funds but was rather about the nature of the funds and the manner the defendants handled them.

The case consequently proceeded to trial on Thursday with the first prosecution witness already giving evidence.

 

Proceeds Of Unlawful Activities

On January 16, the anti-graft agency had arraigned the former minister and two others for allegedly receiving N650m cash from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.

The EFCC claimed that the funds were proceeds of unlawful activities, adding that Akinjide and the others handled the N650m cash without going through any financial institution, contrary to the provisions of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.

Those charged along with Akinjide are Senator Ayo Adeseun and Mr Olanrewaju Otiti.

The trio, however, pleaded not guilty to the 24 counts filed against them.

EFCC Vs Akinjide, Others: Ex-Senator Challenges Court’s Jurisdiction

Lagos Chief Judge Inaugurates Special Courts For Corruption Cases
File Photo

A former Senator representing Oyo Central Senatorial District, Ayo Adeseun, has filed an application to challenge the powers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to try him and two others before Justice Muslim Hassan of a Federal High Court in Lagos over allegations of laundering N650 million.

On the 16th of January, the EFCC had re-arraigned Sen. Adeseun alongside a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Ms. Jumoke Akinjide, and a PDP politician, Chief (Mrs) Olanrewaju Otiti, before the court on 24 counts.

Following their arraignment, Justice Hassan fixed Monday (February 5) for the commencement of their trial.

However, at the resumed hearing of the matter on Monday, Sen. Adeseun’s lawyer, Micheal Lana, informed the court that he had filed two preliminary objections challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case.

The first application faulted the procedure adopted by the EFCC in initiating criminal proceedings against the defendants while the second contends that charges as couched so not fall within the powers of the court.

The other defence lawyers, agreed with his submissions.

The EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, has however urged the court to dismiss the two applications for being frivolous.

On the first application, the lawyer argued that the charge was validly laid before the court.

On the second application, Mr Oyedepo maintained that the Federal High Court is the only court empowered by an Act of the National Assembly to adjudicate on the matter.

Ruling on the applications has been reserved while the trial of the accused persons is expected to commence tomorrow.