Money Laundering: Igbinedion, Eboigbodin Sentenced to 6Yrs, 20yrs Imprisonment

Money Laundering: Igbinedion, Eboigbodin Sentenced to
6Yrs, 20yrs Imprisonment

By Osei Peters

The Federal High Court sitting in Benin
City yesterday sentenced the
younger brother to the former governor
of Edo State, Michael Igbinedion and
Patrick Eboigbodin, who were both
personal aides to former governor, Lucky
Igbinedion, to six years and 20 years
imprisonment respectively, over money
laundering charges amounting to N25
billion brought against them and three
others by the Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Michael was found guilty on three-count
charges of two years each to run
concurrently but he was given an option
of fine of N3 million while Egboigbodin
was found guilty on 10 charges for two
years each and would run concurrently.
He was, however, denied the option of
fine even after arguments by his lawyers.
Presiding judge, Justice Muhammed
Liman, also pronounced that the sixth
accused, PMI Security Nigeria Limited,
which is a corporate body be wound
down and its assets forfeited to the
government.
Before the sentence was passed, counsel
to the first and second accused presented
their briefs where they pleaded for
leniency for their clients.
The counsel pleaded for an option of fine
rather than jail term for their clients.
Chief Richard Ahonanuogho, counsel to
Eboigbodin noted that though the
relevant punishment for the offense is
jail term, the court also has the
description to impose fine, adding that
no money was traced to the personal
benefit of the accused and as such,
deserved a lighter punishment.
On his part, Alhaji Abubakar
Shamsuddeen, counsel to the second
accused, Michael Igbinedion said the plea
for leniency became necessary since his
client was a first-time offender and had
no previous criminal record.
In his brief, counsel to the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr
Tayo Olukotun, posited that an option of
fine being canvassed by the accused was
not justifiable and urged the court not to
be convinced by the plea of option being
pleaded by their counsels.
The judge had, on Wednesday evening,
reserved sentencing for yesterday on a
N25 billion fraud case brought against
the accused. They were accused by the
EFCC of acting as stooges to the former
governor to divert state funds running
into billions of naira.
The case with number FHC/11C/11
involving the Federal Republic of Nigeria
and Lucky Igbinedion, Patrick Egboibodin,
Michael Igbinedion, Gava Corporation,
Romrig Nigeria Limited, PML Securities
Company Limited and PML (Nigeria)
Limited was opened on February 8, 2011
before Justice Adamu Hobon.
Eboigbodin was found guilty of count 50
– 59 while Igbinedion was found guilty of
three-count charge of 79 – 81. On the
counts in which the accused were
discharged, Liman held that the EFCC
lacked evidence to origin of illicit
transactions.
They were arraigned on an 81-count
charge bordering on money laundering,
misappropriation of funds, conspiracy
and abuse of office. The crime was
committed when Igbinedion was
governor of the state between 1999 and
2007.

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