- Category: Law, Crime & Judiciary
- Published on Wednesday, 09 February 2011 05:23
- Written by ThisDay
- Hits: 1869
Former Governor of Edo State, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, has said his trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFC) at the Federal High Court in Benin, Edo State, amounted to double jeopardy as the Commission had previously arraigned and tried him over the same matter at a court of competent jurisdiction.
He said the order was necessary so that the application in opposition of the charge could be heard timeously without any further delay, otherwise a bench warrant would be invoked to compel the accused appearance.
The EFCC had filed a 68-count charge accusing Igbinedion and others of criminally diverting and illegally acquisition of N25 billion Edo State shares in Afribank and money laundering.
Those charged along with him include Michael Igbinedion, Patrick Eboigbodin, Gava Corporation, Romrey Nigeria Limited, CML Securities Limited and PML Nigeria Limited.
When the suit was mentioned in court , the accused were not in court but their counsel was present.
Arguing on the suit with number: FHC/B/11C/2011, counsel to the prosecution, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) told the court that the preliminary objection filed by the accused counsel could only be heard in the presence of the accused persons and applied to the court to issue a bench warrant against the accused.
While counsel to the accused, Ricky Tafa (SAN) argued that their preliminary objection filed on February 4, this year was predicated on the fact that the fresh charges against their client was an abuse of court process since the accused person had earlier been charged.
In his ruling, Justice Adamu Hobon said it was not proper in law for the accused persons not to be in court while their application is being decided.
According to him, “On the whole, haven considered all the circumstances in the charge and the application opposing it coming for the first time for mention and counsel to both sides present in court, I order that the accused persons shall put up appearance at the next sitting and the application in opposition of the charge be heard timeously without any further delay.
pending which bench warrant will have to be invoked to compel accused appearance”. The case was adjourned till March 22 for adoption of written addresses.