court remands ex-INEC boss


The Federal High Court, Lagos has ordered for  the remand of  former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Maurice Iwu, in custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), till when his bail application would be heard and decided.

Iwu was docked before Justice Chuka  Obiozor by EFCC  on four-count charge bordering on money laundering, yesterday.

Among the offence preferred against the ex-INEC boss was alleged aiding and  concealment of total sum of N1.203 million, which was said to be proceed of unlawful act.

He was alleged to have between December 2015 and March 27, 2015, used his company, Bioresources Institute of Nigeria (BION) Limited, whose account with number 1018603119 domiciled in Untied Bank of Africa (UBA) Plc.

The EFCC also alleged that Iwu and a lawyer, Victor Chukwuani retained the sum of N407 million, said to be proceed of unlawful act, in Bioresources Institute of Nigeria (BION) Limited’s Account No. 1018603119 domiciled in the United Bank for Africa Plc,

The offences according to the prosecution, are contrary to Sections  18(a),15(2) (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15 ( 3) of the same Act.

Upon the reading of the charge to the former INEC boss, he pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

Following his not guilty plea, the prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo asked the court for a trial date, while also urged the court to remand the defendant in prison custody, pending the  hearing of his bail application.

Responding, Iwu’s lawyer, Ahmed Raji (SAN), informed the court that he has two applications, one challenging the court jurisdiction and other one for the bail application of the accused.

Raji, however, withdrew the application challenging court’s jurisdiction on the ground of his client’s freedom. And urged the court to hear the bail application.

Upon his withdrawal of application challenging court’s jurisdiction, Justice Obiozor, instantly struck it out.

Following the striking of the application challenging court’s jurisdiction, Raji (SAN) informed the court that bail application had been served on the prosecution but yet to be responded to.

He urged the court either to let his client be with the prosecution till tomorrow, Friday, or be release to him, as he undertook to personally produce him in court.

He informed the court that ever since his client had been admitted to administrative bail, he has never defaulted.

However, the prosecutor, Oyedepo, told the court that the appropriate place to remand a defendant after plea taken is prison.