EFCC re-arraigns Iwu for alleged N1.23bn fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) today re-arraigned a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Maurice Iwu, before the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on a four-count charge bordering on concealment of funds up to the tune of N1.23 billion.

Iwu appeared before Justice Nicholas Oweibo.

Premium Times reports that Iwu was earlier arraigned on August 8 before Justice Chuka Obiozor on the same charges during the court’s vacation and had pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

Addressing the court today, the defence counsel, Mr. A. A. Usman, said the defendant had been granted bail by Obiozor and prayed the court to preserve the bail and the conditions.

“On the 9th of August, your learned brother Justice Obiozor admitted the defendant to bail which has since been perfected and the terms of which the defendant has faithfully kept,” said Usman.

“There is no application from the prosecution asking for his remand or the revoking of his bail. We apply that throughout the trial, the defendant be allowed to continue his bail on the terms earlier granted by your brother.”

The prosecution had no objection to the application and the prayer was granted by the judge.

Usman also brought to the notice of the court that the defence had filed a motion on August 29 challenging the territorial jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter. He said they would be requesting an adjournment to hear the motion.

Objecting, the prosecuting counsel, Bilikisu Buhari, said the prosecution had not been served with any motion.

In response, Usman asked that the court allow the prosecution to be served in court.

The matter was subsequently adjourned till November 25 for the hearing of the motion.

The EFCC alleged that between December 2014 and March 2015, Iwu aided the concealment of the sum of N1, 203, 000, 000.00 in Bioresources Institute of Nigeria (BION) Limited’s account number 1018603119 domiciled in the United Bank for Africa ( UBA) Plc.

Count one of the charge reads: “ That you, Professor Maurice Maduakolam Iwu, between December 2014 and March 27, 2015, in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this honourable court aided the concealment of the total sum of N1, 203, 000, 000.00 in Bioresources 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(a), 15(2) (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15 ( 3) of the same Act.”

Count two reads: “That you, Professor Maurice Maduakolam Iwu, between December 2014 and March 27, 2015, in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, procured Bioresources Institute of Nigeria (BION) Limited retain the aggregate sum of N1, 203,00,000.00 in Bioresources 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 parts 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.”

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