Alleged N600m Fraud: EFCC’s Prosecutor Absence Stalls Ikuforiji’s TrialFeatured, Latest News, News, Uncategorized Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
Ruth Bamidele, Lagos
The trial of the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, and his personal assistant, Mr. Atoyebi Oyebode, for allegedly receiving over N600m from the Lagos State House of Assembly without passing through a financial institution could not continue at a Federal High Court, Lagos, on Tuesday, due to the absence of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s prosecuting counsel, Mr. Godwin Obla (SAN).
Both Ikuforiji and Atoyebi are being prosecuted by the EFCC for allegedly receiving over N600m from the Lagos State House of Assembly without passing through a financial institution between April 2010 and July 2011
The EFCC said the alleged offence contravened Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011.
Godwin Obla was said to have earlier written the court and the defence counsel, stating that he would be absent from court because he was to deliver a paper somewhere.
He was represented by Mr. Edward Okpe, at the proceedings, who told the court that the letter was dated November 13, 2013.
Counsel to the accused persons, Mr. Tunde Akinrimisi, disclosed that he only got Godwin’s letter seeking an adjournment just some moments before the court sitting.
Although Mr Akinrimisi did not oppose the application for adjournment, he however noted that the prosecution of the case ought to be made paramount.
The trial had earlier been scheduled for three previous days in September and October for the EFCC to call its first witness but the court did not sit on all the occasions.
Okpe was asked to continue the matter in Obla’s absence by the presiding judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba, but the lawyer said he could not proceed with it since it was Obla that the Attorney-General of the Federation, personally briefed and gave the fiat to prosecute this case.”
In his Response, Akinrimisi said, “I confirm that a later was shown to me this morning in relation to a request for an adjournment.
“While I do not belittle the reason for the adjournmnet which is that he had a paper to deliver, I respectfully crave the indulgence of the court to have it on record also that a counsel who takes up the duty of the prosecutor has a responsibility to the court and to the accused person.
“It is on record that this court has said that it will not tolerate any delay in prosecuting the matter under any guise.
“When a counsel takes the responsibility as a prosecutor that is supposed to be paramount.”
The matter was adjourned till November 21.
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