The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 sought the leave of the court to split the charges of conspiracy and theft of Police Pension Funds to the tune of N24bn (twenty four billion naira) brought against Esai Dangabar and six others before Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja in order to ensure expeditious trial of the accused persons.
At the resumed hearing of the case today, counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, noted with concern, the delay currently being experienced in prosecuting the case which he said, had been on since 2012.
According to him, the case had been dragging due to large number of lawyers representing the accused persons in the matter.
Rotimi, who told the court that, he had the mandate of his client to request for the splitting of the charge said, “this matter has been on since 2012, and my Lord, the accused persons here are seven with separate counsel. We notice that because of the sheer number and representation of counsel, which must all be heard, the pace of this case has slowed down. We believe this matter can be heard by having separate trials of some of the accused. I humbly apply that my Lord allows at least three separate trials”
But Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, counsel to the first accused, objected stating, “the case is for continuation of trial, and we expect that the application come by way of writing so that we can confront every ground for the application”.
His argument was adopted by the other counsel.
Justice Baba Yusuf ordered the prosecution to formally file a motion for the splitting of the charge and adjourned to June 23, 2015 for hearing on the application.
It would be recalled that Dangabar alongside other accused persons: Atiku Abubakar Kigo, Ahmed Inuwa Wada, John Yakubu Yusufu, Mrs. Veronica Ulonma Onyegbula and Sani Habila Zira were first arraigned before Justice Mohammed Talba of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, sitting in Gudu, Abuja on a 16 count charge bordering on conspiracy and criminal breach of trust on March 29, 2012 and granted bail on April 3, 2012.
On November 12, 2012 the court dismissed the applications brought by four of the six accused persons challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the case as well as the charges against them for lacking in merit.
One of the accused John Yakubu Yusuf was convicted after he opted to plead guilty.
Consequently, the prosecution filed new charges.
The six accused persons, along with Uzoma Cyril Attang, a former chief accountant in the Police Pension office who had been elusive, took fresh pleas on an amended 20-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust, before Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on April 10, 2013.
Head, Media & Publicity
22nd April, 2015