Prosecutor’s absence stalls corruption trial of ex-minister, senior Nigerian lawyer

The absence of the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, on Thursday stalled the trial by a Federal High Court in Lagos of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mohammed Belgore, charged with money laundering.

Mr. Belgore is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, alongside a former Minister of National Planning, Abubakar Suleiman.

The accused are standing trial before Justice Mohammed Aikawa on a five-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N450 million.

On Wednesday, a lawyer from the EFCC, Nkereuwem Anana, had informed the court that the prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, was `held up’ on his way to the court because of a fault in his vehicle.

Anana said the first prosecution witness, was also on his way from Ekiti, and urged prayed the judge to stand down the case to enable the prosecution arrive.

In response, the defence counsel, Ebun Shofunde, raised an objection for a stand down on the grounds that he had another case for the day.

He argued that the court could not wait for a witness, who was still on his way, and urged the court to adjourn the case.

The judge held that he would not stand the case down at the instance of a witness when there were 29 other cases on his cause list for the day.

Mr. Aikawa then urged the prosecution to show more seriousness so that the case could be disposed of as soon as possible.

Consequently, the judge adjourned the case to March 13 and March 14 for definite trial.

The EFCC had charged the accused with conspiracy to directly take possession of N450 million which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.

The commission said that they committed the offence on March 27, 2015.

On the second count, the EFCC said that the accused directly took possession of the sum of N450 million, while on the third count, the accused were said to have conspired to make cash payment of the sum without going through a financial institution.

On counts four and five, they were accused of making cash payment of N450 million to one Sheriff Shagaya without going through a financial institution.

The offences, according to the EFCC, contravene the provisions of Section 15, 15(3), 16, 16(2) 18(a) and 18 (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibitions) (Amendment) Act, 2012.

The accused had pleaded not guilty to all the counts, while the court granted them bail on self-recognition.

(NAN)


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  • Tijani

    Why am I not surprised that the efcc prosecutor AND witness corruptly refused to show up in court to duly, diligently, transparently and accountably pursue and prosecute this corruption case against Mohammed Dele Belgore and his criminal sidekick Professor Sulaiman? Why am I not surprised that the selectively blind Professor Itse Sagay has not uttered any vituperations on the prosecutors corruptly wilful absence? Why am I not surprised that the judge has not held the prosecutor in contempt of court? Why am I not surprised by the leaden silence of SERAP, CACOL, CATNAB on the prosecutors absence? Why am I not surprised that the News Agency of Nigeria is reporting the absence of the prosecutor with such curious circumspection? I am not surprised that Sahara Reporters and Premium Times have not splashed fake news headlines accusing Belgore and Sulaiman of intimidating or bribing the criminally and corruptly absent prosecutor and prosecution witness because I know that the accused criminals, Mohammed Dele Belgore and Professor Sulaiman are close associates of Fake Pastor Vice President Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, the Acting Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and Investigative Agencies of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and his clay-footed god, the untouchable tin-pot Looter of Bourdillon, Chicago Druglord Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Fantastically Corrupt Liars and Thieves.