The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, says it will appeal the ruling of Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos, who on Friday cleared the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeniyi Ikuforiji, and his aide, Oyebode Atoyebi, of money laundering charges.
The two men were on trial on a 54-count charge of money laundering to about N600 million.
Justice Buba ruled that the prosecution failed to prove its case against the accused persons.
The judge said the trial was “anachronistic”, adding that the prosecution “misconstrued and mis-interpreted the Money Laundering Act”.
The lead defense counsel, Wole Olanipekun, had prayed the court to dismiss the charges preferred against Mr. Ikuforiji arguing that the Money Laundering Act 2004, with which the accused person was charged, had been repealed and replaced with the Money Laundering Act 2011, and so should not have been used in charging him.
Mr. Atoyebi’s counsel, Tunde Akinbisi, aligned his submissions with the arguments of Mr. Olanipekun.
The judge upheld Mr. Olanipekun’s submissions and ruled that “the first and second defendants are hereby discharged and acquitted”.
But EFCC said it was dissatisfied with the ruling and will appeal, according to a statement by the commission’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwajeren.
“The learned judge erred in this ruling. The proof of evidence to the charge clearly showed that the provisions of the Money Laundering Act had been violated by the accused persons in receiving various cash payments from the assembly amounting to about N338.8 million.
The Commission stated that it will explore the option of appeal to bring the accused persons to justice.