A Federal High Court sitting in Benin City has adjourned to June 11, 2018 for the arraignment of Osagie Ize-Iyamu, former PDP governorship aspirant in Edo State; Lucky Imasuen, former deputy governor of Edo State; Dan Orbih, PDP chairman in Edo State; Tony Azigbemi and Efe Erimuoghae Anthony.
The quintet were said to have conspired among themselves to commit an offence contrary to the Money Laundering (Prohibition ) Act.
At Wednesday's court sitting, the arraignment of the defendants could not hold because of the absence of Mr Ize-Iyamu and Dan Orbih in court.
The counsel to Dan Orbih, Ferdinard O. Orbih, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, told the court that his client was outside the shores of Nigeria attending to his health. He said it was out of great respect that his client had for the court that he instructed him to appear, assuring that his client would be available at the next court sitting. The same argument was canvassed by Ikhide Ehighelua, counsel to Mr Ize-Iyamu who told the court that his client was out of the country attending to his health.
The EFCC is seeking to prosecute the five top PDP members in Edo State over their alleged role in the N700 million they purportedly received prior to the 2015 general election.
One of the count reads: "That you Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, Lucky Imasuen, Tony Azigbemi, Chief Dan Orbih, Efe Erimuoghae Anthony and Chief Anthony Anenih (now at large) sometime in March 2015 in Benin within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did directly take possession and control of the sum of 700,000,000.00 (seven hundred million naira) only without any contract award which sum you reasonably ought to have known form part of proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit; fraud and corruption; and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Amendment Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3)of the same Act."