The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the upcoming Edo State governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, is due to appear in court tomorrow, July 2, in a case preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), bordering on an eight-count charge of money laundering to the tune of N700 million meant to prosecute the 2015 general election.
Ize-Iyamu, who recently defected to the APC from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and currently flies the former’s gubernatorial flag in the September polls, is being tried along with four others before Justice J. M. Umar at the Federal High Court in Benin-city.
The EFCC, in Suit No. FHC/BE21C/ 2016, said Ize-Iyamu and four others allegedly received public funds illegally to the tune of N700 million for the purpose of the 2015 general election, contrary to the provisions of the EFCC Act and the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.
A group, Concerned Citizens of Edo State, had last week charged youths in the state to meticulously follow the trial, noting: “We call on Edo youths to be aware that Pastor Ize-Iyamu would be standing trial for a N700 million money laundering case preferred against him and four others by the EFCC. The case comes up in court on July 2, 2020. After numerous tricks to detract the court, the judge has validated the charges preferred against Pastor Ize-Iyamu and the four other accused persons.”
According to the group, “We are using this medium to draw the attention of youths in Edo State to the trial of Pastor Ize-Iyamu. While we are aware that these are allegations, which need to be proved in the law courts, we are wary of the implications of this on the dignity and integrity of all Edo people.
“This is not without a precedence. It is a common knowledge that anyone with a criminal past would attract scorn and ridicule in the estimation of right-thinking members of the public. So, we would not drag our state on such an ignoble path.”