Alleged N1.35 billion Fraud: Absence of Lamido, Others, Stall Trial

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The trial of a former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido for an alleged N1.35 billion fraud could not continue on February 25, 2019 due to his absence and those of his two sons, Aminu and Mustapha, and Aminu Wada Abubakar, with whom he is standing trial.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had charged them before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of a Federal High Court, Abuja, on an amended 43-count for allegedly using Bamaina Holdings Ltd and Speeds International Ltd to siphon state funds for personal use.
All the defendants were absent in court, but sent in an application, which indicated that the third and fourth defendants were contestants in the senatorial elections that held on February 23, 2019.
Signed by Barth Ogar Oluohu for Kanu Agabi, SAN, lead counsel for the defence, it noted that, “Collation of results from respective wards will be done on Monday, February 25, 2019”, and thus the contestants would need to be present at the collation centre where the results were to be officially announced.
The defence further urged the Court to adjourn to any date after the 2019 general elections, “to enable them participate fully in the elections”.
Counsel for the EFCC, Chile Okoroma, however, noted that the absence of all the defendants amounted to a lack of respect for the court.
“The prosecution witnesses had already been assembled, and the first, second and eight defendants ought to have been present as a mark of respect to the Court,” he said.
While adjourning to April 4 and 5, 2019 Justice Ojukwu, warned the defence that “the court does not operate at their convenience”, noting that the application did not account for the whereabouts of the first, second and eight defendants.

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