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$2.29 Fraud Charges: Court Orders Ohakim To Open His Defence
A federal high court in Abuja has ordered former Imo State Governor, Ikedi Ohakim to open his defence in the money laundering charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola gave this ruling on Thursday while dismissing a no-case submission filed by Ohakim, claiming that the evidence by the prosecution had disclosed no prima facie case against him.
The EFCC arraigned Ohakim on July 8, 2015 on the allegation that he purchased a property at the Asokoro district of Abuja, with a cash payment of $2.29 million, equivalent to N270 million, during his tenure as the Imo State Governor in November 2008.
Ohakim was also accused of trying to hide his ownership of the property by entering into an agreement as a tenant on the property, as well as failure to declare the property as part of his assets when the EFCC asked him to do so in January 2014.
The prosecution had called six witnesses and tendered documentary evidence to support its claims, but counsel to Ohakim, Awa Kalu, SAN, on May 5, 2016, filed a no-case submission, insisting that the prosecutor’s evidence had failed to link his client to the commission of the alleged crime.
However, in his ruling on Thursday, Justice Ademola held that the prosecution had disclosed prima facie case that warrants the former governor to open his defence.