The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday appealed against the judgment of a Federal High Court in Lagos which discharged Adeyemi Ikuforiji of money laundering charges.
Ikuforiji, the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, and his aide, Oyebode Atoyebi, were arraigned on a 56-count charge bordering on the laundering of N273 million belonging to the Assembly.
The Speaker and his aide, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges at their re-arraignment on March 1, 2012 and June 24, 2013, respectively following the transfer of the case to two different judges.
Justice Ibrahim Buba discharged the accused on September 26, after upholding a no case submission filed on their behalf by their counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and Mr Tunde Akinrinmisi, respectively.
Dissatisfied with the judgment of the trial court, the EFCC filed a notice of appeal before the appellate court raising nine grounds.
In the notice of appeal filed on September 30 by Chief Godwin Obla (SAN), the appellant wants the appellate court to set aside the decision of the lower court on grounds that it was erroneous and perverse.
The appellant also wants an order of the appellate court, directing trial to commence “de novo” (afresh), before another judge of the Federal High Court other than Justice Ibrahim Buba.
According to Obla, the trial judge erred in law when he held that the provision of Section 1 of the Money Laundering Act 2004 and 2011 only applied to natural persons and corporate bodies.
“The lower court erred in law when it held and concluded that the case of the prosecution witnesses supported the innocence of the respondents.
“The learned trial judge erred in law when he upheld the no case submission of the defendants and thereby occasioning a miscarriage of justice,” Obla averred.
He therefore asked the appellate court to allow the appeal and nullify the judgment of the trial court.
No date has been fixed to hear the appeal.