A Federal High Court sitting in Benin City, Edo State capital has ruled that it has jurisdiction to entertain money laundering charge brought against the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in last year’s governorship election in the state, Pastor Osagie Ize -Iyamu.
Nze-Iyamu is charged alongside four others by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The other defendants are Lucky Imasuen, former deputy governor of Edo State, Chief Dan Orbih, former PDP chairman in Edo State; Tony Aziegbemi and Efe Erimuoghae.
According to the charge sheer, the accused were alleged to have sometimes in March 2015 in Benin City directly taken possession of the sum of N700m without any contract award which sum was allegedly part of proceeds of an unlawful act.
They had pleaded not guilty to the charges thus setting the stage for their trial.
However, Charles Edosomwan, SAN, counsel to the first defendant challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter on the grounds that the charges filed against the defendants were based on election matter.
He argued that the appropriate court to try electoral matter was the Magistrate or High Court of the state.
In his ruling today, Justice M. G Umar said the matter before the court was money laundering which the Federal High Court has exclusive jurisdiction over and therefore dismissed their application.
He berated the defendants for filing the motion which he said was intended to waste the time of the court.
The trial judge, Justice Umar adjourned the case till May 18, 2021 for further hearing.