A former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke, was also named in the charge, but is said to be “at large.”
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had alleged that the defendants conspired to “directly take possession of the N450m which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.”
They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges. At the last adjournment, the counsel to the first accused, Mr. Ebun Shofunde (SAN), had brought a motion before the court that a certificate of identification in the proof of evidence was altered.
He urged the court to quash the charge against the accused for what he called irregularity in the evidence.
But the EFCC Prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, objected to the hearing of the motion, citing Section 396 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act. He argued that even if the court was to hear the motion, the ruling of the motion should be made at the time of delivery of the judgment.
“Section 396 is not seeking to restrict the rights of the accused, it allows the accused to bring any objection and allows the court to determine it at the point of delivering judgment.
“Where the statute provides for a mode of doing a particular act, that act must be done in line with that procedure,” Oyedepo said.
Justice Aikawa fixed October 2 for ruling on the objection and for possible trial.(NAN)