A lawyer walks through the compound at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi district in Lagos, Nigeria, May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye
Reuters

The Federal High Court in Lagos has released on bail a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Yemi Akinwonmi, who was arraigned alongside two officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission for alleged money laundering.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission accused Akinwonmi and the two INEC officials attached to Ogun State – Dickson Atiba and Ogunmodede Oladayo – of laundering a sum of N179.8m in March 2015, days before the general elections.

Upon their arraignment on July 30, Justice Muslim Hassan ordered that they should be remanded in Ikoyi Prison.

The defendants were, however, granted bail in the sum of N50m each with one surety in like sum this week.

Justice Chuka Obiozor, who took over the case from Justice Hassan, ordered the sureties to swear to an affidavit of means and furnish the court with details of his valid bank account.

In the charges, the EFCC alleged that the defendants received N179.8m from one Adeyinka Ayo-Aina when they “reasonably ought to have known that the money formed part of proceeds of fraud.”

It added that they handled the cash without going through any financial institution, contrary to the provisions of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011.

The EFCC alleged that the first and second defendants, on or about April 7, 2015, made and accepted a cash payment of N69m, “which sum exceeded the amount authorised by law without going through a financial institution and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011, as amended, and punishable under Section 16(2) of the same Act.”

The three defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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