Aneke takes over Atiku’s lawyer, brother’s trial in alleged money laundering case

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of a Federal High Court, Lagos, has taken over the trial of Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie, lawyer to presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Abubakar Atiku, in the 2019 general elections.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had charged Uyiepken, a senior counsel with the Africa Law Practices and his younger brother, Erhunse for allegedly laundering of $2m.

They were first arraigned before Justice Nicholas Oweibo on August 14,2019 during the court annual vacation on three count charges bordering on conspiracy and money laundering, but they pleaded not guilty to the charges.

After the vacation, they were re-arraigned before Justice Chuka Obiozor, on the same charges.

But when their trial was to commence before Justice Obiozor, their lawyers, Ahmed Raji and Norrison Quakers brought an application before the court for the consolidation of the charge with that of Atiku’s son-in-law, Abdullahi Babalele, who is also being tried before Aneke for allegedly laundering $140, 000.

Giwa-Osagies’ counsel told Obiozor that a letter had been written to the Court’s Chief Registrar for the consolidation of the charge with Babalele.

After their plea, Obiozor returned the case file to the court’s registry and it was subsequently reassigned to Aneke.

Upon reassignment of the case, Aneke fixed January 14, 2020 for the Giwa-Osagie brothers’ re-arraignment.

In a charge marked FHC/L/283c/19, the EFCC alleged that Uyiekpen and Erhunse, were alleged to have on February 12, 2019, conspired and made a cash payment of $2m, without going through financial institutions.

He was alleged to have engaged Erhunse to make the cash payment of the said sum without recourse to financial institutions.

The EFCC insisted that the offences contravened sections 18 (c), 18 (a), 1(a), 16(1), (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 16 (2) (b).

The two defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges and have been granted bail in various terms.

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