An Igbosere Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos Tuesday freed a federal lawmaker, Aliyu Ahman Pategi, who was remanded last Friday for failing to produce his ex-minister wife, Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, who he stood surety for.
Chief Magistrate Afolashade Botoku struck out the charge against Pategi following Akinjide’s surrender Tuesday afternoon to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at its Lagos office in Ikoyi.
Akinjide, a former Federal Capital Territory and Minister of State for Defence, was declared wanted by the EFCC for alleged conspiracy and laundering of N650 million.
The agency said she collected the sum from former Minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Alison-Madueke in March 2015, as part of the $115million allegedly illegally disbursed by the former President Goodluck Jonathan administration to prosecute the 2015 general elections.
According to a 16-paragraph affidavit filed by the commission, Diezani received the money as gratification from some oil marketers.
EFCC counsel Rotimi Oyedepo told the court that Akinjide was granted bail by the agency last August 10, after Pategi stood as her surety on a N650 million bail bond.
Pategi, Oyedepo said, promised to produce Akinjide whenever she was needed.
He said a 24-count charge of money laundering and conspiracy was brought against her before Justice Ayo Emmanuel of the Federal High Court, Ibadan, in Suit No. FHC/IB/26C/2017.
Akinjide, Oyedepo added, failed to turn up in court after more than three proceedings, despite the service of the charge on her prompting the Federal High Court to threaten to dismiss the charge.
He said Akinjide was not seen since then and Pategi, despite repeated demands, failed to produce her
He brought an application that Pategi should show cause why the N650m should not be forfeited to the Federal Government.
Pategi was then remanded in EFCC custody.
When the case came up yesterday, Oyedepo said Akinjide had reported herself to the EFCC’s office.
“I just confirmed from the EFCC zonal office that Akinjide has turned herself in to EFCC custody.
“Since it was the inability of Pategi to produce Akinjide that triggered our application, we apply that this suit be struck out in view of the success of producing Akinjide.
“In the interest of justice I seek to withdraw this suit,” Oyedepo said.
Earlier, defence counsel Olusegun Williams told the court that although the business of the day was for the defendant’s bail and preliminary objection to be heard, an arrangement out of court settlement talks were on going.
He, thereafter, withdrew his applications and urged the court to suspend the suit until a settlement was reached.
In a bench ruling, Magistrate Botoku struck out the suit.
She said: “Based on the application of the prosecutor, the suit is hereby struck out and the defendant released.”