Again, defendant’s ill-health stalls N14 billion corruption trial

Lagos-High-Court
A High-Court

The trial of Esar Dangabar and six others in the alleged N14 billion police pension scam again was stalled on Thursday in an FCT High Court, following his ill health.

Mr Dangabar is among seven persons standing trial before Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf.

Others charged along with him are Ahmed Wada, Atiku Kigo, Veronica Onyegbulam, Sani Zira, Uzoma Attang and Christian Madubuike.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) dragged them to court over their complicity in the alleged N14 billion police pension fund.

Justice Baba-Yusuf adjourned the case until October 17, after Mr Dangabar‘s counsel, A.O. Kelvin from Adegboye Awomolo’s Chambers, informed the court that his client was still ill.

The judge said that he had seen the letter from the defendant’s counsel stating that his client was on admission in the hospital and could not come to court and requested for adjournment of the case.

“We sincerely apologise for the absence of the 1st defendant. We did everything within our powers to make him attend court but it was not possible,” he said.

Oluwaleke Atolegbe, the prosecuting counsel said it was quite unfortunate “because this is the 3rd time the ill- health of the 1st defendant is stalling trial.”

Mr Atolegbe said while they would not be opposing the application for adjournment, he, however, requested for a fairly long date.

“We pray and believe that before then, the 1st defendant would recuperate and come to stand his trial,” he said

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Other defendants’ counsel did not oppose the application for adjournment.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on May 21, the fourth prosecution witness (PW4), Mustapha Gandaya, had commenced giving evidence when Dangabar showed signs of discomfort.

Mr Awomolo then sought the court’s permission to allow Mr Dangabar to exit the courtroom for him to lay down, while he (Awomolo) would hold forth for him.

Reacting, the EFCC Counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, raised concerns on this, saying that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) does not make provision for such.

In view of the situation, Mr Awomolo applied for an adjournment which the judge granted.

(NAN)

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