The Lagos division of the Court of Appeal has set aside the ruling of a Federal High Court, Lagos that cleared former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon, Adeyemi Ikuforiji and his Personal Assistant (PA), Oyebode Atoyebi of allegations of money laundering.
The appellate court in a unanimous judgment set aside the verdict of the trial judge, Ibrahim Buba, and held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had made a prima facie case against the former speaker to require him to enter a defence to the charge brought against him.
The court, in the lead judgment delivered by Justice Biobela Georgewill, also ordered that trial should start ‘de novo’ (afresh) before another judge of the Federal High Court, Lagos other than Justice Buba in the light of the far-reaching findings already made by him.
Other members of the three-man panel were Justice Side Dauda Bage and Justice Ugochukwu Ogakwu.
Justice Buba had on September 26, 2014, discharged Ikuforiji and Atoyebi of a 56-count charge of conspiracy and laundering N500 million belonging to the Assembly, an offence which according to the EFCC contravened sections 15 (1d) and 16(1d) of Money Laundering Act, MLA, 2004 and 2011.
Dissatisfied with the ruling, the EFCC through the notice of appeal dated September 30, 2014 asked the Court of Appeal to hold that Justice Buba erred in law, when he ruled and concluded that counts 2-48 were incompetent, because they were filed pursuant to Section 1(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004 which said law was repealed by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011.