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Court reserves ruling on N700m fraud charges against Orbih, Ize-Iyamu, three others

Justice Mohammed Umar of the Federal High Court, Benin, on Monday reserved ruling on the competence of the charges the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) brought against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chairman in Edo State, Dan Orbih, former Deputy Governor of the state, Lucky Imasuen and three others.

Also arraigned by the EFCC were former member of the House of Representatives, Tony Azegbemi, a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and Efe Anthony.

They were charged for allegedly receiving N700 million from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, prior to the 2015 general elections.

The defendants had claimed in their written addresses that the charges against them were incompetent because the Commission included the late former Minister of Works and Housing, Chief Tony Anenih, as a principal actor in the alleged illegal transaction.

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However, the EFCC had insisted it never charged Anenih for alleged involvement in the scam.

When the matter came up for hearing on Monday, counsels to the defendants, Chief Ferdinand Orbih (SAN), Kingsley Obamogie, Prof. George Izevbuwa, Paschal Ugbome and Ikhide Ehighelua, argued that the case against their clients should be dropped because Anenih who was mentioned in all the charges was no longer alive.

Justice Umar fixed March 26 for ruling on the competency of the charges.

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