Monday, 19 August 2019

Ex INEC Chairman Maurice Iwu Meets N1bn Bail Condition,Regains Freedom

A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Maurice Iwu, has regained his freedom after spending a week at Ikoyi Prison in Lagos.

Iwu, who is facing N1.23bn fraud charges, left the prison on Friday after meeting the N1bn bail with two sureties which the court imposed on him.

The ex-INEC chairman was on August 8 arraigned on four counts before Justice Chuka Obiozor at the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Justice Obiozor admitted him to bail in the sum of N1bn with two sureties in like sum.

The judge said one of the sureties must be a landed property owner in Lagos, while the other must be a civil servant not below Grade Level 16 or a professor in any Nigerian university.

He said both sureties must show evidence of three years’ tax clearance and were also required to furnish the court with their statements of accounts.

Iwu was ordered to submit his passport into the court’s custody, with an order that he could not travel except with the permission of the court.

Iwu’s lawyer, Mr Ahmed Raji (SAN), confirmed to our correspondent that his client had met the bail conditions and had left the prison since Friday.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had on August 8 arraigned Iwu on four counts, in which he was accused of laundering N1.23bn in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.

The anti-graft agency alleged that between December 2014 and March 27, 2015, Iwu “aided the concealment of N1.23bn in the account of Bioresources Institute of Nigeria Limited with number 1018603119, domiciled in the United Bank for Africa.”

It said he “ought to have reasonably known that the N1.23bn formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: fraud.”

The prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that the ex-INEC chairman acted contrary to sections 18(a) and 15 (2) (a) of the Money Laundering ((Prohibition) Act 2011 and was liable to be punished under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

But Iwu pleaded not guilty.

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