Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of a Federal High Court, Lagos has adjourned further trial of a lawyer, Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie, over alleged money laundering of $2 million USD till December 7, 2020.
Uyiekpen, who is a lawyer to the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside his brother, Erhunse for same offence of money laundering.
The adjournment by the court Wednesday was at the instance of Erhunse.
At the resumed trial of the Giwa-Osagie, their lawyer, Oluwafemi Anjorin, told the court that a letter has been written to the court requesting for an adjournment, due to the absence of the second defendant, Erhunse, whom he said was indisposed.
Lawyer to the EFCC, Abbas Mohammed, did not opposed the defendants’ request for adjournment.
Consequently, Justice Aneke, adjourned the matter till December 7, 2020, for continuation of defendants’ trial.
Uyiepken, a senior counsel in Africa Law Practices (ALP) and his brother, Erhunse, are being tried before the court by the EFCC for allegedly laundered the sum of $2 million USD.
They were first arraigned before Justice Nicholas Oweibo on August 14, 2019, during the court’s long vacation on three counts charge of conspiracy and money.
They pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Upon resumption from the long vacation, they were re-arraigned before Justice Chuka Obiozor, on the same three counts charge.
However, before their trial could commenced before Justice Obiozor, their counsels, Ahmed Raji and Norrison Quakers, both Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), brought and application before the court seeking consolidation of the charge with that of Atiku’s son-in-law, Abdullahi Babalele, who is being tried before Justice Aneke.
Babalele on the other hand, is standing trial before Justice Aneke, for allegedly laundering the sum of $140, 000 USD.
Giwa-Osagies’ counsels, had told Justice Obiozor that a letter had been written to the Court’s Chief Registrar, for the consolidation of the charge with Babalele.
After their plea was taken, Justice Obiozor, returned the case file to the court’s registry and it was subsequently reassigned to Justice Aneke.
Meanwhile, upon reassignment of the case file Justice Aneke, the judge fixed January 14, 2020, for the re-arraignment ofGiwa Osagies’ brothers.
The EFCC in a charge numbered number FHC/L/283c/19, read had alleged that Uyiekpen, a senior lawyer in the law firm of Africa Law Practices and his brother, Erhunse, were alleged to have on February 12, 2019, conspired among themselves and make cash payment of the sum of $2 million USD, without going through financial institutions.
Uyiekpen was alleged to have procure his brother, Erhunse, to make the cash payment of the said sum without recourse to financial institutions.
The offences according to the prosecuting agency, EFCC, contravened 18(c), 18(a), 1(a), 16(1), (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 16, 16(2)(b)16(2)(b) of the same Act.
The two defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges and were have granted bail in various terms.
The count one of the charges against the Osagie’s brothers read: “that you Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie and Erhunse Giwa-Osagie, sometimes in February, 2019 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired to commit an offence to wit: making cash payment of the sum of $2,000,000.00 (Two Million United State Dollars) without going through financial institution which sum exceeded the amount authorized by Law and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a), and 1(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.”