A Federal High Court in Lagos, on Monday stayed proceedings until February 6, 2020 in the alleged money laundering trial of embattled Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia.

Justice Mohammed Aikawa said that he will stay proceedings to await the outcome of a letter to the Chief Judge of the court seeking a re-assignment of the case.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission charged Ofili-Ajumogobia and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Godwin Obla, on 18 counts bordering on conspiracy, unlawful enrichment, retention of crime proceeds and money laundering.

The defendants were re-arraigned on May 15 and had both pleaded not guilty to all counts of the charge.

The court had granted them bail in the sum of N10m each with two sureties in like sum.

During the commencement of the case, Chief Robert Clarke (SAN) had appeared for the first defendant, while Chief Ferdinand Orbih (SAN) had appeared for the second defendant.

When the case was called on Monday, Mr U.U Buhari appeared for the prosecution while Mobolaji Kuti and Ferdinard Orbih (SAN) appeared for the first and second defendants respectively.

Buhari then informed the court that the prosecution was ready to proceed with trial. See Also Legal Ajumogobia Money Laundering Case: Court To Deliver Judgment On Preliminary Objection

But Orbih informed the court that the defence had written a letter to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court on November 14 in relation to the instant case, while on November 26 it took further steps to notify the court of its action.

The said letter seeks a re-assignment of the case.

He then urged the court in the circumstance to grant a time frame to enable the CJ arrive at a decision one way or the other in respect of the letter.

EFCC alleged that the duo conspired on May 21, 2014 to indirectly conceal different sums of money in the Diamond Bank account of Nigel & Colive Ltd, a company alleged to be operated by Ofili-Ajumogobia.

They were alleged to have conspired to retain in same account the sum of N500m, which they both reasonably ought to have known formed part of proceeds of unlawful acts of unlawful enrichment.

The EFCC also accused Ofili-Ajumogobia of indirectly concealing the sum of N12m in the same account, and making false statement to the anti-graft agency that the money was payment for sale of a landed property.

The alleged offences contravenes the provisions of Sections 15 (2) (a) and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011.

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