A Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, will entertain the trial of a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide, over allegations of N650 million fraud.
The case has been transferred from the Oyo State division of the Federal High Court to the Lagos State division.
The matter was re-assigned to Justice Muslim Hassan, after the acting Chief Judge, Justice Adamu Kafarati, moved the case to Lagos at the instance of Akinjide.
Akinjide was charged along with former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is said to be at large.
Also in the charge are: Senator Ayo Adeseun and a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart, Chief Olarenwaju Otiti.
They were accused of conspiring to directly take possession of N650million, which they reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.
They were arraigned last June before Justice Joyce Abdulmalik in Ibadan.
The former minister was granted bail on self-recognition when she was arraigned in Ibadan. She was also asked to submit her international passport.
Prosecuting counsel Mr Rotimi Oyedepo confirmed that the former minister would be tried in Lagos.
“Yes, we have been served with a Hearing Notice by the Federal High Court, Lagos Division, that the case is coming up before Justice Hassan next week,” he said.
The defendants allegedly received the money from Mrs Alison-Madueke in the build- up to the 2015 general election.
It was said to be part of the $115 million allegedly disbursed by Mrs. Alison-Madueke to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.
One of the charges reads in part: “That you, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke (still at large), Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, Senator Ayo Ademola Adeseun and Chief Olarenwaju Otiti on or about the 26th day of March, 2015, in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to directly take possession of the N650 million which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.
“That you, Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, Senator Ayo Ademola Adeseun and Chief Olanrewaju Otiti on or about the 26th day of March, 2015 in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did conspire amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit: making cash payment of the sum of N650 million which sum exceeded the amount authorized by Law without going through financial institution and you thereby committed an offence.”
The defendants pleaded not guilty.
It was learnt that Akinjide held plea bargain talks with the EFCC.
Meanwhile the case will come up before Justice Hassan on January 16.