It was on Wednesday, 23rd January that an oil tycoon, Olajide Jones Omokore and a sitting Nigerian Senator from the southern part of the country, Albert Bassey, were both involved in a corruption scandal of cars worth 254 million naira. It was gathered that the two accused were furious with this allegation and challenged the jurisdiction of the Ikeja Special Offence Court to try their case. In the bid to undermine the power and legality of the court to bring them to justice, they decided to be absent at the day of arraignment before the magistrate of the court, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo.
According to statement from the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), this particular senator allegedly collected those 12 cars from Omokore between the periods of 2010-2014 in exchange for contracts. This was when the sitting senator was still the commissioner of Finance at his state; Akwa Ibom and the state chairman for Inter-Ministerial Direct Labour Coordinating Committee. The duo is therefore facing 14-count charge on the premise of corruption and bribery.
The duo challenges the jurisdiction of Ikeja Special Offense Court over trying such case
The vehicles according to reports that were collected from the oil Mogul, Olajide Omokore were a BMW X5 (₦50 million), an Infinity QX 56 BP (₦45 million), a Toyota Land cruiser V8 BP (₦40 million), a Range Rover (₦40 million), a Toyota Hiace High Roof (₦27 million), a Toyota Hiace High Roof (₦16 million) and 6 Toyota Hilux (₦36 million).
In their defense, their counsel, Olatunde Adejuyigbe (SAN) and Solomon Umoh (SAN) filed an earlier petition challenging the authority of the court to even try the case. They claim the court has no substantive power for case of such magnitude.
It was indeed a legal hot battle in court as the counsel for senator and the oil mogul discard all claims of EFCC and the court, classifying it as lack of evidence. This infuriated the prosecuting counsel that made it known that EFCC has the constitutional right to take the case to Court.
The anti-graft commission believes that the offences contravene the 63(1)(a), 64(1)(a) and 98(1)(a) section of the Lagos State Criminal Law. The case has been adjourned to February 20 for further hearing.
Richest Nigerian Senators, fleet of cars and their networths