The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday re-arraigned a former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Administrative Secretary in Kwara State, Mr. Christian Nwosu, for Allegedly Accepting gratification.
He was re-arraigned along with Tijani Bashir before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos.
They were charge with a former Minister of Petroleum Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is said to be at large, and Yisa Adedoyin, who was earlier convicted after pleading guilty.
Nwosu had pleaded guilty to receiving N30 million bribe to rig the 2015 general election results when he was first arraigned, but he later changed his plea to not guilty.
They allegedly conspired to directly take possession of N264,880,000, which they reasonably ought to have known forms part of an unlawful act, which is gratification.
They also allegedly made cash payment of N70,050,000 to Adedoyin, which exceeded the amount authorised by law without going through a financial institution.
Bashir was accused of indirectly taking possession of and retaining N164,880,000, which he reasonably ought to have known forms part of gratification.
Bashir was also charged with indirectly retaining N30 million, being part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.
The alleged offences were committed on March 27 and April 7, 2015 and violated provisions of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.
EFCC had earlier closed its case before the amendment.
Prosecuting counsel Rotimi Oyedepo said he would not call any further witnesses despite amending the charge.
Nwosu’s lawyer Victor Opara had opposed the move to re-arraign his client on the basis that it would further delay the case.
He said the prosecution did not respond to his client’s no-case submission despite being served with it.
Opara argued that the amendment would defeat the objectives of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, which provides for speedy dispensation of cases.
But, Oyedepo argued that the law allows the prosecution to amend a charge at any time before judgment is delivered.
Ruling, Justice Idris held that EFCC was at liberty to amend its charge at any time during proceedings.
The judge allowed the defendants to remain on bail earlier granted them.
He adjourned until March 29 for adoption of written addresses in the no-case submission.