Alleged Money Laundering: EFCC may re-arrest Pastor Ize-Iyamu

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said it may re-arrest Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu since he was not in court to be arraigned along others over alleged money laundering charges.

It said it would get in touch with Pastor Ize-Iyamu’s surety on the administrative bail and make effort to re-arrest him.

Counsel to the EFCC, L.P Aso spoke on Wednesday in Benin City where Pastor Ize-Iyamu and four others were to be arraigned before a Federal High Court for allegedly laundering the sum of N700m.

Others to be arraigned were former Deputy Governor, Mr, Lucky Imasuen,  former member of the House of Representatives, Tony Azegbemi and Efe Anthony.

Former Chairman, Board of Trustee of the PDP, Chief Tony was listed in the charges but was said to be at large.

The absence of Pastor Ize-Iyamu and Chief Orbih stalled the arraignment as the EFCC Counsel told the court that it was the duty of the Commission to produce the accused persons and not for the accused persons to bring themselves to court.

Aso informed the court that all the accused persons have filed application for bail and asked for the court to adjourn to enable the EFCC produce all the defendants in court.

In the charges preferred against Pastor Ize-Iyamu and others, the EFCC accused them of taking possession and control of the sum of N700m without any contract award which they ought to know the money from part of an unlawful act.

They were alleged to have make cash payment of N60,650,000 to one Henry Tenebe of Estako West local government and N61,647,000 to one Momoh Andrew Ojo of Akoko-Edo without going through a financial institution.

In count five, six and seven, they were alleged to have make cash payment of N83,473,000, N125,993,000 and N105,000,000 to Deacon Ezekiel Egharevba, Thomas Aroko and Scott Osagiede respectively without going through a financial institution.

Counsel to Pastor Ize-Iyamu and Chief Orbih, Ikide Chiehelua and Chief Ferdinand Orbih told the court their clients travelled outside the country.

They promised that their clients were prepared to face trials and would be back by Tuesday next week.

Chief Orbih said, “I have his instruction that he will be back to answer to the charges. He is ready and willing to defend himself. His absence is not bourne out of disrespect of the court. He was not served about the arraignment. He lone heard about it and he instructed me to appear for him.”

It would be recalled that the EFCC had first quizzed them in 2016 for collecting N700m out the $115m Allison Maduekwe bribe money.

Imasuen had told newsmen then that he was only invited to a branch of Fidelity Bank to witness collection of the money and that the money was taken to the House of a PDP leader where it was shared.

Pastor Ize-Iyamu explained that he did not touch a kobo out of the money and that he gave the EFCC list of those that signed as the money was being shared.

Chief Orbih said told newsmen then that he told EFCC interrogators that there was no way he could have questioned the source of the money or know whether the money was stolen.

He said the N700m was judiciously expended to the satisfaction of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

According to him, “It is a standard practice all over the world for political parties to raise money for election.”

“The money we received was sent to us from Abuja and we believe it was was from the money realized from the fund raising dinner.”

“Edo State PDP was not in a position to know where the came from.”

The case was adjourned to June 11, 2018 for arraignment.

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