By Ese Awhotu
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday re-arraigned a former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Maurice Iwu, before the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on a four-count charge bordering on concealment of funds up to the tune of N1.23 billion.
The ex-INEC boss was arraigned before Justice Nicholas Oweibo.
Recall that Iwu was on August 8 arraigned before Justice Chuka Obiozor on the same charges during the court’s vacation and had pleaded not guilty to all the counts.
When the case came up for hearing yesterday, the defence counsel, A. A Usman, said the defendant had been granted bail by Mr Obiozor and prayed the court to preserve the bail and the conditions.
“On the 9th of August, your learned brother Justice Obiozor admitted the defendant to bail which has since been perfected and the terms of which the defendant has faithfully kept,” said Mr Usman.
”There is no application from the prosecution asking for his remand or the revoking of his bail. We apply that throughout the trial, the defendant be allowed to continue his bail on the terms earlier granted by your brother.”
The prosecution had no objection to the application and the prayer was granted by the judge.
Mr Usman also brought to the notice of the court that the defence had filed a motion on August 29 challenging the territorial jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter. He said they would be requesting an adjournment to hear the motion.
Objecting, the prosecuting counsel, Bilikisu Buhari, said the prosecution had not been served with any motion.
In response, Mr Usman asked that the court allow the prosecution to be served in court.
The matter was subsequently adjourned till November 25 for the hearing of the motion.
The EFCC had alleged that between December 2014 and March 2015, Mr Iwu aided the concealment of the sum of N1, 203, 000,000.00 (One Billion, Two Hundred and Three Million Naira) in Bioresources Institute of Nigeria (BION) Limited’s account number 1018603119 domiciled in the United Bank for Africa ( UBA) Plc.