The Speaker is standing trial before the court alongside his aide, Oyebode Atoyebi, on an amended 56-count charge bordering on laundering about 500 Million Naira.
After the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, closed its case in proof of the charges against the two men, the defence team led by, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN filed a ‘no case submission’.
They submitted among other things that the EFCC had not succeeded in making a case against their client to warrant him to open a defence.
After considering the heavy work load of his court, Presiding Justice Ibrahim Buba who had initially fixed Friday, for the ruling said it was impossible for him to conclude his ruling on the ‘no case submission’ and refused the request of the defence counsel, for the ruling to be delivered during the period of the vacation of the court.
The Federal High Court is scheduled to begin its annual vacation on Monday,July 14. The court is expected to resume for the new Legal year on September.
The EFCC represented by Mr Edward Okpe, had objected to the ruling on the ‘no case submission’ been delivered during the vacation period.
In a short ruling, Justice Buba held that “since the prosecution has refused that the ruling be delivered during vacation, and considering the legality of doing so, this matter stands adjourned to Sept. 26.
It will be recalled that the accused persons were re-arraigned before Justice Buba, on June 24, 2013, following the retirement of Justice Okechukwu Okeke, the former judge.
They had however pleaded not guilty to the charges and Justice Buba had granted them bail in the sum of one Billion Naira each with two sureties each in the sum of 500 Million Naira.
The prosecutor, Chief Godwin Obla (SAN) had called two witnesses Mr Adebayo Adeniyi, a Principal Detective Supritendant and a former clerk of the house, Mr Adewale Olatunji in proof of the EFCC’s case against the accused persons.
He closed the case of the prosecution on June 20, 2014.
The defence team on July 7, argued a “no case submission” on behalf of the accused persons urging the court to discharge and acquit them of all the charges.
The prosecutor had however, raised objection to the submissions of the defence team and had also urged the court to order the accused persons to open their defence.
The court had reserved ruling on the submissions.
In the charge, the accused persons were alleged to have committed the offence between April 2010 and July 2011 respectively.
They were also alleged to have committed an illegal act of accepting cash payments of over 273 Million Naira from the Lagos State. House of Assembly without going through a financial institution.
Hon Ikuforiji was also alleged to have used his position to misappropriate about 500 Million Naira of the Assembly’s funds.
The offence is said to contravene the provisions of section 18(a) of the money laundering (prohibition) Act 2011.