N650m alleged fraud: Court remands Akinjide, ex-minister

Justice Joyce Abdulmaleek of the Federal High Court, Ibadan, on Thursday remanded  a former minister, Olajumoke Akinjide,  and Olanrewaju Otiti,  in  EFCC custody over alleged  N650 million fraud.

recall that former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, Sen. Ayoade Adeseun, as well as  Akinjide and Otiti where arraigned on a 12- count  amended charge bordering on conspiracy, unlawful conversion and stealing of N650 million in the build up to the 2015 general  elections.

Abdulmaleek adjourned the case till July 6 to hear their  bail application.

At the resumed hearing of  the matter, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, the prosecution counsel, informed the court that the commission had amended the charges against the accused persons and prayed  that the amended charges be read.

But the defence counsel objected  to the amendments and  reading of any charge  to their clients.

Mr Bolaji Ayorinde, Mr Michael Lana and Mr Adeniyi Isola,  all  defence counsel, argued that no charge  had ever been read to their clients before,  adding that  there was therefore  no cause for  any amendment.

The defence counsel also submitted that it was an irregularity on the part of the prosecution to be amending charges that were not known to be existing.

The judge, however, overruled them directing that the charge sheet be read to them.

The two accused persons present in court—Akinjide and Otiti– pleaded not guilty to the 12- count charge.

There was a stir, however, as Ayorinde and Lana in separate submissions  told the court that they were withdrawing further appearance in the case, claiming the court had not been fair  to  their clients.

The two defence counsel subsequently walked out of the court.

Akinjide, however,  had begun moves to explore  plea bargain arrangement with EFCC.

Oyedepo, who confirmed the move during the court’s  proceeding,  said that the process was still ongoing.


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