The absence of the four children of Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, former Registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), in a Federal High Court, Abuja, stalled their arraignment on Friday.
Ojerinde and his children; Mary Funmilola, Olumide Abiodun, Adedayo and Oluwaseun Adeniyi, alongside their companies, were to be arraigned before the court.
Olumide Abiodun Ojerinde was a member House of Representatives at 9th Assembly representing Irepo/Orelope/Olorunsogo Constituency of Oyo State.
The Federal Government, through the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), had, in a charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/119/23, sued the Ojerindes on 17 counts bordering on money laundering.
Ojerinde and his companies are currently facing a money laundering trial before Justice Obiora Egwuatu.
The former JAMB boss was, on Jan. 26, re-arrested by the operatives of the anti-graft commission while he was heading to his car with one of his sons after trial Justice Egwuatu adjourned further proceedings in the charge preferred against him.
ICPC lawyer, Ebenezer Shogunle had, on Feb. 15, notified Egwuatu that Ojerinde was re-arrested on suspicion that he might have committed some other offences not unconnected with the present charges before the court.
He said for this reason, the commission obtained a warrant from the court dated 6th of Dec, 2022 for his re-arrest.
But Ojerinde, in a suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/179/2023, sued the commission for alleged unlawful detention and breach of his fundamental rights.
While Ojerinde’s suit before Justice Egwuatu was adjourned until May 4 for mention, his trial was fixed for the same date for hearing continuation.
The fresh criminal charge against Ojerinde and his children before Justice Ekwo, it was gathered, was connected to the latest finding by the anti-graft commission.
While the FG is the complainant, Ojerinde, Doyin Ogbohi Petroleum Ltd, Cheng Marbles Ltd, Sapati International Schools Ltd, Trillium Learnings Centre Ltd,, Standout Institutes Ltd and Esli Perfect Security Partners are 1st to 7th defendants respectively.
Mary, Olumide, Adedayo and Oluwaseun are the 8th to 11th defendants in the trial.
Although they were not in court, they were represented by a lawyer, Ajibola Bello.
Upon resumed hearing, ICPC’s counsel, Henry Emore, informed the court that the matter was slated for the defendants to take their plea.
He said the 2nd to 7th defendants were corporate persons while the 8th to 11th defendants were natural persons.
Emore said though the defendants were to be arraigned, the 8th to 11 defendants were not in court.
He said the matter was filed on Monday and the court, on Wednesday, graciously gave them today for the defendants to take their plea.
He, however, said they were unable to serve the 8th to 11th defendants.
The lawyer prayed the court for a short adjournment.
Justice Ekwo directed Emore to serve their lawyer in open court since he was present.
“I grant you a leave to serve them now through their counsel. Let the court record shows that this is by leave of court.
“When a lawyer is representing defendants in court, it means that the lawyer knows the contact of the defendants and can reach them,” he said.
The judge, who adjourned the matter until April 19, said: “there shall be consequence if the defendants are not in court in the next adjourned date.”