By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
The trial of former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Bello Adoke SAN in the corruption changes brought against him by the federal government, was yesterday stalled.
This is following the failure of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to supply names and particulars of witnesses they intend to call for prosecution.
The anti-graft action contravenes Section 379(1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.
Adoke alongside Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar are standing trial on a 14- count amended criminal charge bordering on money laundering alleged to involve about N4billion.
When the matter was called up yesterday, for trial, the prosecution counsel, Mr Bala Sanga sought for leave to call up his first prosecution witness(PW1)one Mr Clement Osagie, an official of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), who was on subpoena to the witness box.
However, counsel to the second defendant, Chief Olalekan Ojo, SAN, vehemently objected to the witness on the grounds that he was unknown to his client as a witness of the EFCC in the trial.
He drew the attention of the court to the charge and proof of evidence, adding that in breach of the enabling law, the prosecution did not list any of its witnesses and also failed to attach summary of the witnesses statements as required by law.
Ojo cited section 379 of the ACJA in his argument, adding that in line with provision of the section, the EFCC ought to supply names and particulars of the witnesses to the defendants to enable them prepare their defence adequately.
He insisted that fair trial demanded that the defendants must know those that will testify against them in a criminal matter.
He therefore, urged the court to compel the prosecution to do the needful before the trial can commence.
Responding, Sanga, who informed the court that he got to know about the witness only Monday evening, conceded to the argument and prayed the court for a short adjournment to comply with the law.
Other defendant however did not object to the request for a short adjournment following which the court in a short ruling adjourned trial to August 13, 2020.
Justice Inyang Ekwo in adjourning the trial ordered the prosecution to serve the defendants with all the particulars, processes that they are entitled to within 24 hours.
Recall that the prosecution agency, had on August 4, re-arraigned Adoke and Abubakar before the Federal High Court, Abuja, on a 14 count amended charge bordering on alleged money laundering and corruption.