A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Maurice Iwu, has challenged the jurisdiction of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos to try him on a four-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N1,203, 000,000.00( One Billion, Two Hundred and Three Million Naira).
Iwu’s counsel, A. A. Usman, filed a motion to that effect when he was re-arraigned before Justice I. Nicholas Oweibo by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Thursday.
Justice Oweibo adjourned the matter to November 25, 2019 for hearing of the motion.
Iwu was first arraigned on August 8, 2019 before Justice Chuka Obiozor, a vacation Judge, but the matter was re-assigned to Justice Oweibo for trial.
The former INEC is alleged to have between December 2014 and March 2015, aided the concealment of the sum of N1, 203, 00,000.00(One Billion, Two Hundred and Three Million Naira) in the account of Bio-resources Institute of Nigeria (number 1018603119) domiciled in the United Bank for Africa( UBA) Plc.
Count 2 of the charge reads: “That you, Professor Maurice Mmaduakolam Iwu, between December 2014 and March 27, 2015, in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, procured Bio-resources Institute of Nigeria(BION) Limited to retain the aggregate sum of N1, 203,00,000.00( One Billion, Two Hundred and Three Million Naira) in Bio-resources Institute of Nigeria, (BION) Limited’s Account No. 1018603119 domiciled in the United Bank for Africa Plc, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful act, to wit: fraud and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Sections 18 (c), 15(2) (c) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act , 2011, as amended, and punishable under Section (5) (3) of the same Act.”
He pleaded not guilty to the charge.
In view of his plea, the prosecuting counsel, Bilkisu Buhari asked the court for a trial date.
The defence counsel, A.A Usman however informed the court that the defendant has been enjoying the bail granted him by Justice Obiozor upon his first arraignment. He therefore urged the court to allow the defendant to continue with the bail terms granted by Justice Obiozor.