Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday urged a Federal High Court in Abuja to dismiss the no-case submission filed by former Imo State governor, Ikedi Ohakim, after the prosecution closed its case with six witnesses in his ongoing trial on money laundering charges.
The EFCC is prosecuting Ohakim who was Imo State Governor between 2007 and 2011 on three counts of money laundering.
The prosecution accused Ohakim of purchasing the property at 60, Kwame Nkrumah Street, Plot No 1098, Cadastral ZoneA04, Asokoro District, Abuja with cash payment of $2.29m which was said to be dollar equivalent of N270m in November 2008.
Ohakim was also accused of failing to declare the property as part of his assets when asked by the EFCC to do so.
Ohakim filed his no-case submission after the prosecution closed its case on May 5, claiming that the evidence led failed to link him with the alleged offences.
But the prosecuting lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo, on Monday urged the court to reject the no-case submission made on behalf of the defendant by his lawyer, Awa Kalu (SAN).
Keyamo said the prosecution had led sufficient evidence to establish its case against the defendant.
The prosecutor urged the court to order the defendant to enter his defence.
Keyamo, while adopting his written submission in opposition to the no-case submission, noted that the defendant had, in his statement to the EFCC admitted making payment for the property in dollars, but later said the payment was made in naira cash.
He maintained that the prosecution had proved that that Ohakim attempted to conceal the source of the property and the source of the fund which he said was an element of money laundry.
He faulted claim by the defendant that he (Ohakim) that he had withdrawn his confessional statement, when he freely made the statement admitting making payment for the property.
Keyamo added that it was too late for Ohakim to claim to have withdrawn his confessional statement when he did not object at the point of tendering it as exhibit.
“If he was not in a state of mind to make those statements, in which he implicated himself, he should have said so. It is trite law that it is not at the state of submission that one can object to a statement, it is at the point of tendering it,” Keyamo said.
Faulting the claim by Ohakim that he could not remember how payment was made for the house, Keyamo said it was strange that an adult could claim to have forgotten how such a transaction was carried out.
He urged the court to take judicial notice of the fact that no man would forget how he acquired his house.
“It is either the court finds that he did not own the house or he owned and acquired it, but failed to declare it. It will help to shed light on the hidden issues if the defendant is called upon to enter his defence,” Keyamo said.
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