A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday dismissed applications for case transfer filed by Sen. Ayo Adeseun and Olanrewaju Otiti, seeking transfer of a criminal charge against them to the Ibadan Division of the court.
The two men are standing trial alongside a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Jumoke Akinjide.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting the defendants who are all chieftains of Oyo State Chapter of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
Justice Sule Hassan held that the applications lacked merit.
The defendants had filed the applications through their lawyers, Messrs Michael Lana and Akinola Ayodeji, on the grounds that the ingredients of the charge took place in Ibadan.
The defence had informed the court on Monday that it had over 65 witnesses, spread across nine local government areas in Oyo, who, it said, would cost much money to bring to Lagos.
EFCC counsel, Nnaemeka Omewa, had urged the court to dismiss the applications for lack of merit.
Omewa told the court that the accused’s right of being charged in a court within 40km radius of where the alleged offence was committed, was upheld when the case was filed in Ibadan.
He noted that following a petition by Akinjide to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, the case was transferred to Lagos.
According to him, Section 98 (1) (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act forbids the court from transferring a case in which the prosecution had already called witnesses.
He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the motions and continue with the hearing of the case in Lagos.
Justice Hassan adjourned the case until Dec. 10 for continuation of trial.
The defendants were on Jan. 16, re-arraigned by the EFCC before Hassan on a 24-count amended charge of N650 million fraud.
They were alleged to have received money from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the build-up to the 2015 General Elections.
The money was said to be part of the 115 million dollars allegedly disbursed by Alison-Madueke to influence the outcome of the 2015 Presidential Election.