• Wednesday, July 24, 2024
businessday logo


$2.3m land payment: Court adjourns money-laundering charge against Ohakim


A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja before Justice Ademola Adeniyi, has adjourned the matter filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Ikedi Ohakim, former governor of Imo State, for allegedly making a cash payment of $2.3 million for a piece of land in Abuja.

This was sequel to a heated session that took place between the prosecuting counsel, Festus Keyamo and Awa Kalu, counsel to the defendant, when Keyamo informed the court that Emeka Ohakim, son of the defendant, had allegedly went on the trail of the prosecution witness.

Ohakim is standing trial over alleged fraudulent payment for Plot No. 1098 Cadastral Zone A04, Asokoro District, otherwise known as No. 60, Kwame Nkruma Street, Asokoro, Abuja.

Addressing Justice Adeniyi, Keyamo had said that the PW2, Sule, managing director, Tweenex Consociate H.D. Limited, phoned him about 9pm on Monday, January 25, 2016, saying the second son of the defendant, Emeka Ohakim, had gone to office of the PW2 at Asokoro to inquire about his home address from some individuals.

According to Keyamo, Ohakim had allegedly approached three people, whose names he gave simply as Okon (a driver), Akpabor (a driver) and Shola (an architect), for Sule’s home address.

However, in his response, lead counsel to the defendant, Chris Uche, expressed shock at what he described as Keyamo’s outburst, saying that the matter should have been discussed at another gathering rather than blowing it in the open.

After listening to both counsel, Justice Adeniyi, who was visibly disturbed about the allegation, said there was no harm if the prosecution had hinted the defendant and his counsels about the incident, to which the trial judge adjourned the matter to January 27, 2016, at 12 noon for continuation of trial.

But at resumption, after about two hours in court, with counsels in the matter meeting with the trial judge in his chambers, the matter was subsequently adjourned to February 24 and 25, 2016.

There are strong indications that Awa Kalu, counsel to Ohakim, might have withdrawn its services to the defendant in the matter, as a result of the heated session he had in court with the prosecution at the previous sitting, as reliable sources said “he doesn’t want to be a party to the matter anymore due to what happened in court.”