A former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide, who was charged with an alleged fraud of N650m, has indicated her intention to enter into a plea bargain with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Her lawyer, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), told the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday that arrangement was being made for the refund of the N650m.
The EFCC had on January 16, 2018 arraigned Akinjide and two others for allegedly receiving N650m cash from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the build-up to the 2015 general elections
The anti-graft agency claimed that the funds were proceeds of unlawful activities, adding that Akinjide and others handled the N650m cash without going through any financial institution, contrary to the provisions of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.
Those charged along with Akinjide were Senator Ayo Adeseun and Chief Olanrewaju Otiti.
The trio, however, pleaded not guilty to the 24 charges filed against them.
The court had fixed Tuesday for commencement of trial. But when the case was called on Tuesday, Akinjide’s lawyer, Ayorinde, told the presiding judge, Justice Muslim Hassan, that his client intended to explore an amicable settlement of the case with the EFCC.
He said he had discussed his client’s intention with the counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, and pleaded that an adjournment be granted to allow the parties to discuss.
He said, “This matter is principally about the campaign funds of the 2015 elections in Oyo State and the people in the dock now were the principal hands that handled the funds, consequently, the PDP in Oyo State have unanimously taken a decision to refund the total sum N650m.
“In the light of the above, before the trial commences full-blown, we are imploring the court to allow parties to explore possible amicable settlement.”
The EFCC prosecutor, Oyedepo, confirmed that Ayorinde had approached him for settlement. He, however, emphasised that the case before the court was not merely about the funds, as the EFCC had already recovered the N650m.
He said the case before the court was rather about the nature of the funds and the manner the defendants handled them.