A Federal high court sitting in Abuja, has fixed March 7, 2022, for the trial-within-trial in a money laundering case involving former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, and others.
Justice Inyang Ekwo fixed the date, on Tuesday, at the instance of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission's (EFCC) lawyer, Bala Sanga, who prayed for an adjournment over the non-availability of the four witnesses lined up for trial-within-trial. He submitted that only one that would have been in court lost his son last Saturday.

The EFCC is prosecuting Adoke who is the 1st defendant in the case alongside an oil mogul, Mr. Aliyu Abubakar as the 2nd defendant, on 14 counts.
The judge, on Monday, fixed today (Tuesday) for the said mini-trial following an allegation by Abubakar that a statement extracted from him by the commission, in respect of the case, was made under duress and coercion.
Trial-within-trial is a situation when a court stops the substantive proceedings and conduct another trial to determine an objection raised by a defendant about the admissibility of a confessional statement on the ground that it was not obtained voluntarily.
Abubakar had raised the issue, when Ibrahim Ahmed, the 8th prosecution witness (PW8) and one of the operatives of the anti-graft agency that investigated the matter in 2012, was being led in evidence by the EFCC’s lawyer, Sanga.
However, counsel for Abubakar (2nd defendant), Wole Olanipekun, SAN, told the court that he intended to call three witnesses to prove that the statement made by his client was not voluntary.

Olanipekun prayed the court to adjourn the matter until March 7 and March 8, 2022, to give the parties more time to prepare for the trial to resolve the controversy.

Sanga did not oppose the date.
Lawyer to Adoke (1st defendant), Paul Erokoro, SAN, also agreed with the date.
Erokoro, however, called the attention of the court to the number of adjournments coming from the EFCC.
“This is the 7th adjournments the prosecution has asked in criminal this trial. I want this to be on record my lord,” he said.
Sanga, who disagreed with Erokoro, said: “We want to be guided by the record of the court in terms of adjournments.”
“Did you see me saying anything?,” the judge asked Sanga rhetorically.
However, Ekwo, who noted that the matter was not moving at the pace the court would have wanted, adjourned the case until March 7 and March 8, 2022, for trial-within-trial.
He also ordered the EFCC to make available all his witnesses on the next adjourned date.

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