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Corrupt Charges: Court Convicts Igbinedion, Ex-gov to Pay N3.5m Fine

Posted by From Francis Ugwoke in Enugu on 2008/12/19 | Views: 990 |

Corrupt Charges: Court Convicts Igbinedion, Ex-gov to Pay N3.5m Fine


Former Edo State Governor, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, who has been standing trial in the case of money laundering and other corrupt charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) was yesterday convicted by the Federal High Court, Enugu.

•EFCC rejects judgment, to appeal verdict


Former Edo State Governor, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, who has been standing trial in the case of money laundering and other corrupt charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) was yesterday convicted by the Federal High Court, Enugu.

Similarly, Kiva Corporation Limited, which was accused of receiving several millions of naira belonging to the Edo State Government on behalf of one Patrick Eboigbodin, a staff of the state government, but at large, was also convicted.

Igbinedion's conviction followed a guilty plea to the amended charges of 191 to only one count charge of neglect to declare his interest in a GTBank account in which he had N3.5 million and 23 count charges against Kiva Corporation in which the company also pleaded guilty.
But the EFCC has rejected the High Court verdict on Igbinedion, saying it will appeal against the judgment.

In a statement by the agency's Head, Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Babafemi, EFCC said it was disappointed by the verdict.

Justice Abdu Kafarati, in his judgment, said following the plea of guilt, including the exhibits before the court by the EFCC, the court was convinced to convict Igbenidion and Kiva as charged.

He ordered that Igbinedion should pay a fine of N3.5 million, which was found in his GTB account and which he was accused of neglecting to declare.

On Kiva, Justice Kafarati convicted the company with the option of N500 million on counts 2 and 3, which was that the company retained N30 million and N70 million in its personal account on behalf of Patrick Eboigbdin.

The court ordered that Igbinedion should remain in EFCC custody until the amount he was fined is paid.

The court also ordered that Kiva should forfeit three properties in Abuja and Benin, which include an undeveloped property in Abuja, a storey building, detached property of two plots of 2 bedroom and boys quarters in Benin.

When the case first came up at the Federal High Court, in January, this year, both Igbinedion and Kiva Corporation had pleaded not guilty.

However, at yesterday's hearing, when the one count charge and 23 others were read against Igbinedion and Kiva, the former governor and counsel to the company, Mr. Richard Ahonarogho, pleaded guilty.

EFCC counsel, Mr. Rotimi Racobs, had tendered several documentary evidence ranging from statement of account, payment vouchers from the Edo State Government as exhibits to prove his case.

Igbinedion's counsel, Mr. Adetunji Oyeyepo, and Kiva's counsel, Ahonarogho, who were asked by the court to respond to the exhibits tendered by the EFCC, simply told the court that the facts were right.

But both pleaded with the court to exercise some leniency in its judgment since, according to Oyeyepo, Igbinedion demonstrated respect and responsibility for the period of the case.
Oyeyipo told the court that the failure of Igbinedion to declare the N3.5 million found in his account was not deliberate, but inadvertent.

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