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Judge’s Absence Stalls Ikuforiji’s Trial Over Money Laundering

A Federal High Court, Lagos on Monday adjourned further proceedings in the trial of the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, for money laundering charges due to absence of the trial judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba.

The prosecuting and defence counsel were told to return to court on May 2.

The reason for the judge’s absence could not be ascertained.

Ikuforiji and his co-accused, who is also his personal assistant, Mr. Oyebode Atoyebi, were sighted on the court premises.

The speaker and Atoyebi are facing 54 counts of money laundering allegedly involving over N600m.

The EFCC accused the Speaker and his aide of receiving the money from the Lagos State House of Assembly without passing through a financial institution.

An EFCC witness, Adebayo Adeniyi, had at the previous proceedings told the court how the defendants collected N13.5m for honorarium, N4.5m for renovation of his residence, and another N1.5m for the Speaker’s Guest House every month for six months.

According to the witness, Kuforiji in 2010 collected N1.2m on May 12 for an emergency meeting in Abuja; N5.2m on May 1 for a trip to Spain ; and N3m on June 21 for Umrah.

The Speaker, Adeniyi said, also colected N2.8m for a trip to Italy; N5.5 m for another trip to Chicago.

He equallly spent N3.9m for election monitoring in California.

Other spendings of the Speaker, as narrated by the EFCC witness include the purchase of a Kia Rio car N1.7m and N4.2m to purchase furniture for the Speaker’s office

The trial was adjourned last January for the prosecution to provide a summarised version of the monies collected by Mr. Ikuforiji and his aide.

The trial was adjourned last January for the prosecution to provide a summarised version of the monies collected Mr. Ikuforiji and his aide.