Alleged N1.2bn Fraud: Court remands Ex-INEC Chairman, Maurice Iwu, in EFCC Custody 

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A Federal High Court on Thursday remanded the former chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Maurice Mmaduakolam Iwu, in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), till tomorrow, Friday, when his bail application would be heard and decided.

Justice (Professor) Chuka Austine Obiozor, ordered the remand of the former Nigeria’s electoral umpire in EFCC custody, after his plea was taken on four counts money laundering charge made against him.

EFCC had arraigned Iwu before the court on charges bordering on aiding and concealment of total sum of N1.203 million, which was said to be proceed of unlawful act.

He was alleged to have between December 2015 and March 27, 2015, used his company, Bioresources Institute of Nigeria (BION) Limited, whose account with number 1018603119 domiciled in Untied Bank of Africa (UBA) Plc.

The EFCC also alleged that Professor Ieu and a lawyer, Victor Chukwuani retained the sum of N407 million, said to be proceed of unlawful act, in Bioresources Institute of Nigeria (BION) Limited’s Account No. 1018603119 domiciled in the United Bank for Africa Plc,

Upon the reading of the counts of the charge to the former INEC boss, he pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

Following his not guilty plea, the prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo leading A. A. Buhari and A. O. Muhammed, asked the court for a trial date, while also urged the court to remand the defendant in prison custody, till hearimgnof his bail application.

Responding, Professor Iwu’s lawyer, Ahmed Raji (SAN) leading John Osegi and a. A. Usman, informed the court that he has two applications, one challenging the court jurisdiction and the bail application.

Raji (SAN) however withdrew the application challenging court’s jurisdiction on the ground of his client’s freedom. And urged the court to hear the bail application.

Upon his withdrawal of application challenging court’s jurisdiction, Justice Obiozor, instantly struck out same.

Following the striking of the application challenging court’s jurisdiction, Raji (SAN) informed the court that bail application had been served on the prosecution but yet to be responded to.

He urged the court either to let his client be with the prosecution till tomorrow, Friday, or be release to him, as he undertook to personally produce him in court.

He informed the court that ever since his client had been admitted to administrative bail, he has never defaulted.

However, the prosecutor, Oyedepo, told the court that the appropriate place to remand a defendant after plea taken is prison.

In his ruling, Justice (Professor) Obiozor, ordered that the defendant be remanded in EFCC custody till Friday, for hearing of his bail application.

The charge against him are: Count one reads: “That you, Professor Maurice Mmaduakolam Iwu,  between December 2014 and March 27, 2015, in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this honourable court aided the concealment of the total sum of N1, 203,00,000.00( One Billion, Two Hundred and Three Million Naira) in Bioresources Institute of Nigeria, (BION) Limited’s Account No. 1018603119 domiciled in the United Bank for Africa Plc, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful act to wit: fraud and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Sections 18(a), 15(2)  (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15 ( 3) of the same Act”.

Count two reads: “That you, Professor Maurice Mmaduakolam Iwu,  between December 2014 and March 27, 2015, in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, procured Bioresources Institute of Nigeria(BION) Limited retain the aggregate sum of  N1, 203,00,000.00( One Billion, Two Hundred and Three Million Naira) in Bioresources Institute of Nigeria, (BION) Limited’s Account No. 1018603119 domiciled in the United Bank for Africa Plc, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms parts of proceeds of unlawful act to wit: fraud and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Sections 18 (c), 15(2) (c) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act , 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.”

COUNT 3 “that you Professor Maurice Mmaduakolam Iwu between December, 2014 and 27th March, 2015 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court used the aggregate sum of N1. 203.000.000.00 (One Billion, Two Hundred and Three Million Naira) in Bioresources Institute of Nigeria (BION) limited’s Account No. 1018603119 domiciled in the United Bank For Africa Plc which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful act to wit: fraud and you thereby committed an offence contrary to sections 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act. 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.

COUNT 4 “that you Professor Maurice Mmaduakolam Iwu and Victor Chukwuani Esq between 23rd and 29th of December, 2014 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of thisHonourable Court procured Bioresources Institute of Nigeria (BION) Limited to retain the aggregate sum of N407,000,000.00 (Four Hundred and Seven Million, Naira) in its account No. 1018603119 domiciled in United Bank For Africa Plc which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful act to wit: fraud and you thereby committed an offence contrary to sections 18 (c), 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under sections 15 (3) of the same Act.

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