The Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed March 4 for the arraignment of Fidelis Anosike and his brother, Noel, charged with fraud and money laundering.
The accused are standing trial, alongside their company, Folio Communications Limited, on a five-count charge for the alleged offences.
The arraignment of the accused, earlier scheduled for Thursday, was stalled due to the absence of the trial judge, Chukwujekwu Aneke.
When the case came up last, the defence counsel, Norrison Quakers, had raised a preliminary objection, challenging the service of the charge.
He argued that the charge on which the prosecution sought to arraign the accused was not served the defence.
Mr. Quakers had argued that the non-service of the charge ousted the jurisdiction of the court on the case.
But the prosecutor, Ernest Ezebilo, had informed the court that the defence was duly served contrary to their claim.
He told the court that a copy of the proof of service was in the court’s file.
Mr. Ezebilo had, however, said that if the defence counsel insisted that the accused were not served, then leave of court should be granted for the service to be made in court.
The judge granted the leave sought and ordered that the defence be properly served after which he adjourned the case for arraignment.
In the charge, the accused allegedly conspired to commit felony by obtaining N25 million from the Education Trust Fund under false pretence of utilising the money to set up an electronic library for Daily Times of Nigeria.
The alleged offence was said to have contravened the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act, 2005.
The accused were also alleged to have conspired to obtain N100 million from Corporate Ideals Properties Limited and Senator Ikechukwu Obiorah under the guise that they had a printing factory at Lugbe, Abuja, when the claim was incorrect.
They were further alleged to have laundered about N75 million, which was realised from the sale of Daily Times property at Cold Harbour Lane, London.
The Anosike brothers and their company have been in one controversy or the other ever since they bought Daily Times under the federal government’s privatisation programme. The Nigeria Union of Journalist, Lagos State Chapter, had challenged Folio’s acquisition of Daily Times saying the deal was controversial and filled with fraud; and accusing Fidelis Anosike of fraudulently selling the property of Daily Times across Nigeria and beyond.
Daily Times, one of Nigeria’s oldest Newspapers was founded in 1925; first printed in June, 1926; and privatised to Folio in 2004 by the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo.