Adoke Trial: Court Warns EFCC Over Incessant Request For Adjournement

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A collage photo showing officials of the Economic and Financial Commission of Nigeria (EFCC) and Nigeria's former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, who is standing trial for corruption charges.
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The Federal High Court, Abuja has issued warning to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against several requests for adjournment in the ongoing money laundering charge against former Attorney-General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, who is standing trial alongside business man, Aliyu Abubakar.

At the resumed trial on Wednesday, Justice Inyang Ekwo gave the warning when EFCC lawyer, Bala Sanga asked the court for an adjournment following the absence of the fifth prosecution witness in court.

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Frowning at the incessant request for adjournment, Justice Ekwo told the prosecuting counsel to note that there was a limit to the number of adjournments he could request for.

His explanation, Sanga told the court that the fifth prosecution witness had to be subpoenaed because he had became hesitant and was refusing to attend court to testify in the matter.

Recall that on August 11, the EFCC had requested for an adjournment after failing to serve witness statements on the defendants.

Also on September 7, the court granted adjournment on the case when counsel to Abubakar informed the court that the statement of the fourth prosecution witness was not added to the proof of evidence served on them.

According to section 396(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), “where day to day trial is impracticable after arraignment, no party shall be entitled to more than five adjournments from arraignment to final judgment…”

In an earlier testimony the fourth prosecuting witness, a bureau de change (BDC) operator, Farouk Suleiman, told the court that Abubakar had given him cheques totaling N2 billion and asked him to change it to the dollar equivalent sometime in Sept. 2013.

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Suleiman, testified that he cleared the cheques through an account belonging to Farsman Holdings Limited, a company which belonged to him, domiciled with Heritage Bank.

However, under cross-examination by Abubakar’s counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo, Suleiman said neither the cheques nor the receipt of transactions had the name of Abubakar. He said the cheques were drawn in the name of Equal Access Limited. Adoke and Abubakar were re-arraigned by the EFCC on Aug. 4, on an amended 14-count charge bordering on money laundering.

(NAN)