The All Progressives Congress governorship candidate in the last election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who is being prosecuted for alleged N700m fraud, has challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, Edo State.
Ize-Iyamu, who was the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in 2016, was accused of receiving N700m during the run-up to the 2015 Presidential election.
He was subsequently arraigned alongside four others including a former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Lucky Imasuen.
Other defendants include- a former PDP chairman in Edo State, Chief Dan Orbih; Tony Aziegbemi and Efe Erimuoghae.
At the resumption of trial on Thursday, however, Ize-Iyamu’s lawyer, Charles Edosomwan (SAN), informed the court that he had filed a motion challenging its jurisdiction on the grounds that the charge filed against the defendants are based on election matters.
According to him, the appropriate court to try electoral matter was the Magistrate Court or High Court of the state. The same argument was canvassed by the counsel to the other defendants.
However, the prosecuting counsel, Francis Jirbo, countered the argument with the submission that the information before the court is a money laundering charge for which the Federal High Court has exclusive jurisdiction.
After listening to both counsel, Justice M. G. Umar adjourned the case till January 20, 2021 for a ruling.
Ize-Iyamu and other defendants were first arraigned before Justice P. I. Ajoku on eight counts of money laundering on May 24, 2018. The Punch