Absence of defence counsel stalls trial of ex-Vanguard employees

The defendants are James Unoka, a sales representative, and Badmus Abiodun, an accountant.

The absence of a defence counsel on Thursday stalled the trial of two former employees of the Vanguard Media Ltd., accused of stealing N7.9 million belonging to the company.

The defendants, James Unoka, a sales representative and Badmus Abiodun, an accountant, are being prosecuted before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of an Ikeja High Court.

They face 16-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing and forgery preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

During Thursday’s proceedings, Mr. Abiodun’s counsel, O. Ganiyu, sent a letter to the court apologising for his absence, which he claimed was due to ill health.

Mr. Ganiyu therefore asked the court to adjourn the trial of the defendants.

The EFCC’s counsel, Abba Mohammed, did not oppose the request for adjournment.

Justice Ipaye consequently adjourned the matter till June 18 for continuation of trial.

The EFCC had alleged that the defendants, between January 2006 and June 2008 in Lagos, conspired to steal by fraudulently converting the company’s money to their personal use.

The commission also accused them of forging two United Bank for Africa deposit slips with Nos. 3812385 and 6633835, purported to be in the sums of N42, 915 and N254, 200 respectively.

According to the EFCC, the offences contravene Sections 390 (7), 467 (2) and 516 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State 2003.


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