Court strikes out alleged money laundering case against Belgore Shola Soyele

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Supreme Court, sitting in Abuja on Friday, have struck out a money laundering charge brought against the former governorship candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Kwara State, Dele Belgore.

The Apex court allowed the appeal against the ruling of Justice Rilwan Aikawa of Federal High Court, Lagos delivered in November 2018.

Justice Aikawa had dismissed a ‘no case submission’ application made by Belgore and his co-defendant, a former Minister of Planning, Professor Abubakar Sulaiman, in the N450m Money Laundering Charge made against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In dismissing the application, the lower court had held that after a careful study of the prosecution’s case, he had formed an opinion that the defendants had certain explanations to make. The judge then ordered them to open their defence.

Dissatisfied with the ruling, Belgore filed an appeal at the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal. After considering the appeal, the court dismissed it.

But in its ruling on Friday, the Supreme Court allowed the appeal on the ground that the Federal High Court, Lagos Division lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the charge.

The Court was of the view that offences for which the defendant was charged cannot be tried in Lagos but where the offence was allegedly committed in Kwara State.

Following this verdict, the EFCC has said that the defendant will be arraigned afresh in the state.