A few members of the media were also invited to watch and report the proceedings.
Some judges who hooked up to the proceedings include Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye, Justice Josephine Oyefeso, Justice Sherifat Solebo, Justice Afeez Dabiri.
Other participants from the bar include the State’s Attorney General & Minister of Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo(SAN), the prosecutor, Ms. Titilayo Shitta-Bey, and some senior advocates like Funke Adekoya, Tayo Oyetibo, Olukayode Enitan amongst others.
The virtual proceedings became necessary to ensure the continuity of court business following the shut down of the physical courts by the CJN as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
So far, 75 people have joined the proceedings online.
On this edition of Law Weekly, we featured highlights of the first GLOW Conference (Global Leadership of Women,) of the National Association of Women Judges, Nigeria, hosted by the Chief Judge of Lagos, Justice Ayo Philips and the Lagos State Judiciary.
Also, the Rivers State Judiciary is in the news again, first a bomb blast and then protest over the NJC’s directive on assignment of cases.
On the interview segment, we talked to the former Chairman of the Lagos branch of the NBA, Mr Taiwo Taiwo, on the developments in Rivers and what it portends for the judiciary.
After a three month lull, trial continued on Tuesday in the suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji.
Mr Ikuforiji is standing trial alongside his Personal Assistant, Oyebode Atoyebi, on a 20-count of alleged money laundering.
An EFCC investigator, Adeniyi Adebayo, being led in evidence by the anti-graft agency’s counsel, Godwin Obla, narrated how various sums of money was paid into Mr Ikuforiji’s bank account in one year.
He said that between July 2010 and August 2011, N36.52 million from the House of Assembly’s Cash Office was deposited into Mr Ikuforiji’s private bank accounts.
The EFCC investigator added that the sum of N6 million was deposited on July 2, 2010; N5 million on August 1, 2010; N5 million on July 9, 2011; N4 million on July 27, 2011; N10.52 million on August 31, 2011; and N6 million on October 8, 2011.
“Part of the cash received from the cash office of the Accounts Department of the Lagos House of Assembly by the second accused (Mr Atoyebi) was used to run errand for the first accused (Mr Ikuforiji),” he said.
“I cannot remember what specifically the errands were,” he added.
The EFCC lawyer tendered an exhibit before the court, a statement purportedly made by Mr Atoyebi in October 12, 2012, in which he admitted to have collected the various cash payments from the Assembly’ s Cash Office and how he deposited the N36.52 million into Mr Ikuforiji’s bank accounts.
In addition to allegedly converting state funds to private use, the Speaker was further accused by the EFCC of signing off various sums of money under shady circumstances.
The commission said that they possess statements by other members of the House of Assembly and civil servants in the state legislature detailing such jamboree payments.
Being led in evidence, Bolaji Ayinla, a member representing Mushin Constituency 11, stated how, with the speaker’s approval, he collected N22 million in cash for members of the House of Assembly and the staff of the legislature for the 2011 Ramadan celebration.
Lambo Abosede, a civil servant, stated how she paid N7 million to Tell magazine in April 7, 2011.
No receipts were issued for the collection of these sums.
Another civil servant, Toyin Atekoja, who works at the House’s Accounts Section, stated that “various cash payments were made to various persons.”
According to the EFCC, Ms. Atekoja said that 14 members of the House each received N1, 128, 859, in cash, for the second conference and annual general meeting of Commonwealth Parliament Association held in Kigali, Rwanda.
Mr Atoyebi allegedly collected, in cash, N3, 313,721.90 on behalf of the speaker for the same purpose.
Justice Okechukwu Okeke, the trial judge, fixed March 19, 20 and 21 for continuation of trial.