N250m Scam: Igbinedion to Face Fresh Prosecution
The Appeal Court sitting in Benin has ruled that a former Governor of Edo State, Mr. Lucky Igbinedion, be made to face fresh prosecution for allegations of financial improprieties.
The governor and his allies are facing prosecution for allegedly diverting N250 million from the state’s Local Government Joint Allocation Account.
Igbinedion was said have removed the money ostensibly to provide security in a local government election which did not hold.
The Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said in a electronic mail on Wednesday that the Appeal court ruled that the former governor should return to the Federal High Court to be tried for ‘money laundering, misappropriation of funds and financial improprieties.’
Uwujaren said that the panel of the Appeal Court led by Justice Helen M. Ogunwunmiju ruled that Igbinedion must face trial for fresh charges because there was no agree between the former governor and the EFCC based on its plea bargain arrangement that he would not face prosecution for fresh charges.
The other two justices who also agreed with the verdict were Justice M. M. Saulawa and Justice A. O. Lokulo-Sodipe.
The EFCC had charged Igbinedion and six others to the Federal High Court in Benin on February 8, 2011 on a 66-count bordering on money laundering, diversion of funds to private accounts and abuse of office as governor of Edo State from 1999 to 2007.
The other accused in the suit are the younger brother of the ex-governor, Michael Igbinedion, Patrick Eboigbodin, and four firms whose names were given as Gava Corporation Limited, Romrig Nigeria Limited, PMI Securities Company Limited and PML (Nigeria) Limited.
Uwujaren said that the EFCC had proceeded to the Court of Appeal when Justice Adamu Hobon of the Federal High Court Benin dismissed the fresh charges brought against Igbidenion on the ground that bringing fresh charges against the former governor after he entered into a plea bargain for which he was convicted would be an overkill.