The Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos State on Friday ordered that a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Maurice Iwu be remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over an alleged N1.23 billion fraud.
Iwu was arraigned in court by the anti-graft agency on a four counts charge. The Commission said Iwu committed the offence in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.
According to the EFCC, Iwu had between December 2014 and March 27, 2015 aided the concealment of N1.23 billion, believed to be proceeds of unlawful acts in the account of Bio-resources Institute of Nigeria Limited with number 1018603119, domiciled in the United Bank for Africa.
The prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo told the court that by concealing the said funds, the ex-INEC boss acted contrary to sections 18 (a) and 15 (2) (a) of the Money Laundering ((Prohibition) Act 2011 and was liable to be punished under Section 15(3) of the same Act.
However, when the charges were read to him, the former INEC boss pleaded not guilty. The prosecutor consequently prayed the court for a trial date and an order remanding him in prison.
Objecting, Iwu’s lawyer, Ahmed Raji (SAN) told the presiding judge, Justice Chuka Obiozor that he had filed a bail application on behalf of his client, which had been served on the prosecution.
Oyedepo, while arguing that he only received a copy of the bail application in court on Thursday morning told the judge that he intended to oppose it and therefore needed time to study it.
Following an agreement by the lawyers, Justice Obiozor adjourned the hearing till Friday to take arguments on the bail application, directing that Iwu be remanded in EFCC custody in the meantime.