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N25 billion fraud: Igbinedion to be sentenced, Thursday

AKHERE Godwin,Benin

 

Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court has reserved sentence for Thursday on the money laundering case involving the younger brother to the former Edo state Governor, Mr Michael Igbinedion.

Justice Liman , Wednesday reserved sentence after over three hours of judgment.

Liman who called for a recess after over three hours of judgment however failed to turn up, citing fatigue.

It would be recalled that that Liman had, Tuesday failed to deliver judgment in the case that had been on for over three years.

However, in his judgment delivered, Wednesday, Liman had found Igbinedion and Patrick Eboigbodin not guilty of some of the charges.

While the first accused, Eboigbodin was found guilty of count 50 – 59, Igbinedion was found guilty of three count charge of 79 – 81.

On the counts in which the accused were discharged, Liman held that they lacked evidence of the origin of the transactions.

The younger Igbinedion along with five others are being tried on an 81- count charge of money laundering.

The N25 billion money laundering case was instituted against the accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Other persons mentioned in the case are, Eboigbodin and their four companies.

Michael served as the personal assistant to the governor, Eboigbodin was a former Accountant-General and the four companies are – Gava Corporation Limited, Romrig Nigeria Limited, PMI Securities Company Limited and PML (Nigeria) Limited.

They were arraigned on an 81-count charge bordering on money laundering, misappropriation of funds, conspiracy and abuse of office.

The crime was committed when Igbinedion was Governor of the state between 1999 and 2007.

It would be recalled that the former governor had earlier been arraigned over a related matter. He was freed by the court after a plea bargain.

Delivering of judgment in the case which had been on for over three years had suffered several postponements. Judgment was fixed for January 30 but was not carried out due to ill-health of the trial Judge.

It was again fixed for April 17 but was shifted to April 20 because of the Judiciary’s Easter vacation.

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