The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has accused the presiding judge of the Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja, Kogi State, Justice I. E. Ekwo, of condoning the antics of two suspects with the aim of delaying their prosecution on charges of money laundering and criminal misappropriation of N800million in public funds.
Gabriel Dauda, a former chairman of Ogori/Magongo Local Government Area of Kogi State, and Albert Soje Adesina, Commissioner for Agriculture, Kogi state were arraigned on April 1, 2010 alongside seven other top officials of the Kogi State government, before Justice Adamu Bello of the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja.
The men pleaded not guilty to all the charges read to them and were granted bail in the sum of N100 million, with one surety each, who must be Nigerians of honest and reasonable character, reside in Abuja and own land worth N100 million.
They however applied and got the case file transferred to the Kogi division of the Federal High court where, at the resumed hearing of the case today, they were supposed to open their defence following the closure of the prosecution’s case. But Dauda and Adesina told the court that they needed more time as five of their witnesses were not in court.
The prosecution counsel, Wahab Shittu, told the court that since the two accused persons were the principal witnesses among the defence witnesses, the two should mount the witness box and be cross examined. According to Shittu, since the EFCC has successfully prosecuted its case by calling six witnesses and tendering several exhibits, the adjournment which the accused were seeking was unnecessary.
The judge adjourned the case till next Monday, December 4, 2012.