October 18, 2022
The trial of former Governor of Adamawa, Muritala Nyako and his son, Abdulaziz, charged with alleged N29 billion money laundering was on Tuesday stalled due to the absence of defence counsel, Mr. Kanu Agabi, SAN.
Nyako, his son and other co-defendants are being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on alleged money laundering to the tune of N29 billion.
At the resumed hearing of the case at the Federal High Court, Abuja, Counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, SAN decried the absence of Agabi in court saying it was a deliberate ploy to frustrate the trial.
Jacobs recalled that since after the court ruling dismissing their no- case submission, the 1st and 2nd defendants had been exhibiting unwillingness to open their defence.
“The absence of the lead counsel to the 1st and 2nd defendants is deliberate and orchestrated to frustrate the trial.
“After the ruling on their no-case submission, the court had adjourned the case to March 9,10 and 11 for them to open their defence.
“The three days were however, vacated at the instance of the defendants. The court then adjourned the case until June 20th to 24th at the instance of the defence.
“On those five days, Agabi wrote a letter to the court to the effect that he wanted to travel abroad and that he wanted to handle the case personally.
“This court graciously bent backwards and granted the adjournment and fixed today, Oct. 18, 19 and 20 but here we are today, that a party to which the court vacated eight days of trial is not ready to proceed.
“My Lord I submit that they have exhausted their right of adjournment but I however, ask the court to give them one more adjournment.
“If they fail to appear in court on the next adjourned date, the court should close their defence,” Jacobs said.
Other defence counsel did not object to the application for adjournment.
In his ruling, the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang agreed with the prosecutor that the absence of the defence counsel had frustrated the day’s proceedings.
However, with the agreement of counsel, the judge adjourned the matter until Wednesday for the defendants to open their case. (NAN)