Wednesday, 7 February 2018

N650m Fraud: FCT Ex-Minister Akinjide Opts For Plea Bargain

Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mrs. Jumoke Akinjide, who is standing trial over an alleged fraud of N650m, has opted to enter into a plea bargain with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The EFCC, January 16, 2018, arraigned Akinjide and two others for allegedly receiving N650m cash from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.

The anti-graft agency said that the funds were proceeds of unlawful activities, adding that Akinjide and others handled the N650m cash without going through any financial institution, contrary to the provisions of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.

Those charged along with Akinjide were Senator Ayo Adeseun and Chief Olanrewaju Otiti.

They all pleaded not guilty to the 24 charges filed against them.

The court had fixed Tuesday for the commencement of trial, but the former minister’s lawyer- Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), told the Federal High Court in Lagos that arrangement was being made for the refund of the N650m.

At the resumed hearing of the case, Ayorinde, told the presiding judge, Justice Muslim Hassan, that his client intended to explore an amicable settlement of the case with the EFCC.

He said he had discussed his client’s intention with the counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, and pleaded that an adjournment be granted to allow the parties to discuss.

The EFCC prosecutor, Oyedepo, confirmed that Ayorinde had approached him for settlement.

He, however, emphasised that the case before the court was not merely about the funds, as the EFCC had already recovered the N650m.

Consequently, Justice Hassan adjourned the matter till February 22.

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