Ex-INEC Chairman Iwu Seeks Transfer Of Money Laundering Case

A photo combination of Professor Maurice Iwu and a logo of the EFCC.

 

 

A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Maurice Iwu, has made an application for the transfer of his trial on allegations of fraud.

Iwu, who was arraigned before Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court in Lagos on four counts of concealment, fraud and money laundering to the tune of N1.2 billion, is seeking the transfer of the case to the Abuja division of the court.

The money is said to be part of the N23.29 billion slush fund allegedly shared by former petroleum minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke, to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential elections.

 

A Great Agony

At Thursday’s proceedings, counsel to the former INEC boss, Ahmed Raji, told Justice Oweibo that the transfer was necessary so as not to subject the defendant to great hardship.

He explained that Professor Iwu resides in Abuja but always travels to Lagos whenever the case was coming up.

“My Lord, this defendant is over 70 years of age and he always travels down to Lagos whenever the case is coming up; then he books a hotel. It will amount to great agony for him to continue with this trial in Lagos,” said Raji who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

He also submitted that since the transaction which led to the charge was done in Abuja, the case should be heard in the nation’s capital.

But counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes commission (EFCC), Rotimi Oyedepo, asked the court to refuse the application.

Oyedepo based his argument on the fact that all the witnesses listed in the proof of evidence, including the bank officials reside in Lagos and Ibadan.

He also argued that it was the Lagos Zonal office of the EFCC that investigated the case.

The EFCC counsel submitted that the offence for which the defendant was charged touched on the economic well-being of Nigeria, and such offences can be tried anywhere in the country.

He cited the provision of Section 98 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, which states that only the Chief Judge of the Court has the power to transfer any matter.

After listening to both parties, Justice Nicholas Oweibo adjourned the case until March 6 for ruling.

Professor Iwu is facing three counts of fraud and money laundering brought against him by the anti-graft agency.

The EFCC accused him of committing the offences from December 2014 to March 27, 2015.

Following his arraignment, the former INEC boss pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail in the sum of N1 billion.

Alleged N1.23bn Fraud: Trial Of Ex-INEC Chairman Maurice Iwu Stalled

A photo combination of Professor Maurice Iwu and a logo of the EFCC.

 

 

The trial of former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Maurice Iwu, has failed to continue as scheduled.

Professor Iwu’s trial was stalled on Monday at the Federal High Court in Lagos as the trial judge, Justice Nicholas Oweibo, did not sit.

He is facing three counts bordering on fraud and money laundering filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The former INEC boss was first arraigned on August 8 before Justice Chuka Obiozor, who granted him bail in the sum of N1 billion.

Following the transfer of the case to Justice Oweibo, Professor Iwu was re-arraigned by the EFCC on October 24 before Justice Oweibo.

He, however, he pleaded not guilty to the charges while Justice Oweibo adjourned until November 25 for his trial to commence.

Following the absence of the judge at Monday’s sitting, the case was further adjourned until February 27, 2020.

In the charges filed against the former INEC chairman, the EFCC alleged that between December 2014 and March 27, 2015, Mr Iwu “aided the concealment of N1.23 billion in the account of Bioresources Institute of Nigeria Limited with number 1018603119, domiciled in the United Bank for Africa.”

According to the commission, Professor Iwu “ought to have reasonably known that the N1.23 billion formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act, to commit fraud.”

The prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that the former INEC boss acted contrary to Sections 18(a) and 15(2)(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 and that the offence was liable to be punished under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

EFCC Re-Arraigns Ex-INEC Chairman, Iwu Over Alleged N1.2bn Money Laundering

A photo combination of Professor Maurice Iwu and a logo of the EFCC.

 

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has re-arraigned a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Maurice Iwu.

Professor Iwu was re-arraigned on Thursday before Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos.

The anti-graft agency, in a statement, said he arraigned the former INEC boss on four counts bordering on money laundering to the tune of N1,203,000,000.

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Professor Iwu was first arraigned on August 8 before Justice Chuka Obiozor, a vacation judge, but the matter was re-assigned to Justice Oweibo for trial.

According to the EFCC, he is alleged to have aided the concealment of the money between December 2014 and March 2015 in the account of Bio-resources Institute of Nigeria domiciled in a commercial bank.

Count 2 of the charge read: “That you, Professor Maurice Mmaduakolam Iwu, between December 2014 and March 27, 2015, in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, procured Bio-resources Institute of Nigeria(BION) Limited to retain the aggregate sum of  N1, 203,00,000.00( One Billion, Two Hundred and Three Million Naira) in Bio-resources Institute of Nigeria, (BION) Limited’s Account No. 1018603119 domiciled in the United Bank for Africa Plc, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful act, to wit: fraud and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Sections 18 (c), 15(2) (c) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act , 2011, as amended, and punishable under Section (5) (3) of the same Act.”

The former chairman of the electoral body, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

In view of his plea, the prosecuting counsel, Bilkisu Buhari, asked the court for a trial date.

On his part, the defence counsel, A. Usman, informed the court that the defendant has been enjoying the bail granted him by Justice Obiozor upon his first arraignment.

He, therefore, urged the court to allow the defendant to continue with the bail terms granted by Justice Obiozor.

Usman also informed the court that he had filed a motion challenging its jurisdiction to entertain the case.

In his ruling, Justice Oweibo adjourned the matter until November 25, for the hearing of the motion.

Court Grants Maurice Iwu N1bn Bail

 

The Federal High Court Ikoyi has granted bail to Professor Maurice Iwu to the tune of N1 billion.

Professor Iwu was being arraigned on four counts of concealment, fraud and money laundering to the tune of N1.2bn.

In the charge, the EFCC alleged that Professor Iwu aided the concealment of the above sum between December 2014 and March 2015.

The money is believed to be part of the N23.29b slush funds allegedly shared by former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke, to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential elections.

Professor Iwu, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges, and his lawyer, Ahmad Raji (SAN) asked the court to grant him bail on the grounds of self-recognizance and secondly on liberal terms.

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The prosecution lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, on the other hand, said there was evidence of the possibility of the defendant intimidating or interfering with the witnesses if he was granted bail, and therefore, urged the court to use its discretion not to grant the bail.

After listening to both arguments, however, Justice Chuka Obiozor granted the bail while also requesting for two sureties and insisting that Mr Iwu must not communicate with any of the witnesses.

He is to be remanded in the Ikoyi prison until he meets the bail conditions.

Court Commences Hearing Of Maurice Iwu’s Bail Application

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State has commenced the hearing of the bail application by the former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Maurice Iwu.

The bail application is currently being heard by Justice Chuka Obiozor, at the end of which the former INEC boss would know whether or not he will be released from the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Professor Iwu is facing four charges of concealment, fraud and money laundering to the tune of N1.2bn, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

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In the charge, the EFCC alleged that Professor Iwu aided the concealment of the above sum between December 2014 and March 2015.

The money is believed to be part of the N23.29b slush funds allegedly shared by former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke, to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential elections.

Professor Iwu has, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges, and his lawyer, Ahmad Raji (SAN) has asked the court to grant him bail on the grounds of self-recognizance and secondly on liberal terms.

Court Remands Former INEC Boss, Maurice Iwu In EFCC Custody

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered that Professor Maurice Iwu be remanded in custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), till Friday when his application for bail will be heard.

Prior to the remand order, the EFCC had arraigned the former INEC Chairman before Justice Chuka Obiozor on a four count charge of concealment, fraud and money laundering of N1.2billion.

In the charge filed against the former INEC Chairman, the EFCC alleged that Professor Iwu aided the concealment of the sum of N1, 203,000,000 between December 2014 and March 2015.

The sum was said to be in the bank account of Bioresources Institute of Nigeria Limited and domiciled in the United Bank for Africa, UBA Plc.

The money is believed to be part of the N23.29b slush fund allegedly shared by former petroleum minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke, to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential elections.

Professor Iwu pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Alleged N1.2bn Money Laundering: EFCC To Arraign Maurice Iwu Today

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), will on Thursday arraign a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) Professor Maurice Iwu.

He will be arraigned before Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos over allegations of money laundering to the tune of N1.2 billion.

In the charge filed against the former INEC Chairman, the EFCC alleged that Professor Iwu aided the concealment of the sum of N1, 203,000,000 between December 2014 and March 2015.

The sum was said to be in the bank account of Bioresources Institute of Nigeria Limited and domiciled in the United Bank for Africa, UBA Plc.

The money is believed to be part of the N23.29b slush fund allegedly shared by former petroleum minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke, to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential elections.

Ebola: Bitter Kola Stops Replication Of Virus, Not A Cure

Maurice IwuA Professor of Pharmacognosy, Maurice Iwu, whose publication about the potency of Garcinia Kola (Bitter Kola) in reducing the replication of the Ebola Virus has become popular since the outbreak of the disease, has reiterated that the Bitter Kola is not a cure for Ebola, as rumoured in some parts of Nigeria.

Since the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria in July, Bitter Kola has become a commodity that many Nigerians want to have in their pockets or bags and eat it at intervals, as a result of the rumour that it could cure Ebola.

Professor Iwu had, in an article published in 1999, established that Garcinia Kola had a compound, Kola extract, that was able to arrest the replication of the Ebola Virus.

“It was not a cure but that was a big hope because it was just five years after Kikwit, a province in Congo had cases of Ebola outbreak.

“We were so happy about it and when I was given an award in Saint Louis Missouri, the entire hall came to a halt when we announced that this compound is able to do this.

“Before then, there was nothing of such and there was not even an animal that we know that can withstand the virus,” Professor Iwu said.

He, however, stressed that the research, carried out by a group established in 1985, interested in disease hunting, also showed that Garcinia Kola had the ability to boost the immune system which was necessary to boost an Ebola patient’s chances of recovery.

Something Positive

On Monday, four more patients with the Ebola Virus Diseases were discharged after they were certified okay by a medical team handling the treatment of infected persons.

It is a breakthrough as five persons have so far been discharged while four deaths have been recorded.

Professor Iwu, who is a member of a committee set up by the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, to advise the ministry and medical workers on the Ebola outbreak, described the development as a positive one.

“Something positive is happening and that shows that our chief medical doctor, Professor Chukwu, his team, the Lagos State doctors and the Lagos State government are doing their best to contain the spread of the disease.

“The proactivity that Nigeria has shown is commendable. In the containment, they are doing very well. In the issue of treatment, they are doing very well so it is a hopeful sign,” he said.

Professor Iwu stressed the need for a little change in the approach of medicine from the point of view of treatment and disease to accommodate the non-western concept.

“The process where you now need to strengthen the body system with natural immune boosters should be looked at and the Garcinia Kola is interesting in that regard.

“What is worst with Ebola is that drug development has what is called phase three, which is the stage it is approved. It is not possible to have a scientifically valid phase three trial for Ebola because you do not have enough patients at any given time to administer the drug on.

“Even at the moment, Africa does not have enough patients. You have to plan the phase three, you will have to recruit the patients and make sure that all the parameters to use are available.

“But at the moment, we are not as helpless as people are making it look like. We have very able scientists that are looking up in the future. We have very able doctors who are treating our patients. We have a system that seems to be working and the containment is really fantastic and the World Health Organization has praised Nigeria for what it is doing.”

He said that Africa was suffering from a severe case of low self esteem, pointing out that “if the survival of the four Ebola patient was in America they would have been going round, preaching and telling people how to manage Ebola cases, giving seminar and sending whatsapp messages”.

“But in our continent, it will be all negativity and it is an enclosure of the mind for somebody to look down on alternative sources of treatment,” the Professor of Pharmacognosy said.

He insisted that people who criticise alternative medicine do so because they want to discourage people from seeking alternative sources so as to sell their products.