A federal judge in Lagos on Friday withdrew from the trial of human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa citing “personal reasons.”
Justice Oluremi Oguntoyibo did not elaborate further on her reasons for opting out of the suit instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
She said she would return the case file to the Chief Judge, Ibrahim Auta, for re-assignment to a new judge.
The EFCC had arraigned Mr. Adegboruwa in May last year over allegations of dealing in a property seized by the commission.
According to the EFCC, under Section 32 (1) of the EFCC Establishment Act 2004: “Any person who, without due authorisation by the Commission, deals with, sells or otherwise disposes of any property or assets which is the subject of an attachment, interim order or final order, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of five years without the option of a fine.”
The commission said Mr. Adegboruwa and Jonathan Udeagbala, said to be at large, committed the alleged offence on August 13, 2013 in Lagos.
But Mr. Adegboruwa insisted he did no wrong, adding that the freezing order said to be on the disputed property had been vacated by a court.
In 2012, Mr. Udeagbala was arraigned before a Lagos High Court for allegedly issuing dud cheques to his business partner, Leonard Okafor.
During the trial, the parties met and decided to resolve the matter amicably by leasing out Mr. Udeagbala’s personal house in Nicon Town, Lekki, Lagos.
Mr. Adegboruwa was appointed to supervise the settlement and the court subsequently dismissed the suit.
The EFCC accused Mr. Adegboruwa of conspiring to lease out the property which it said was a “subject of interim orders of attachment made by Justice Christopher Balogun of the Lagos State High Court.”
The agency said Mr. Adegboruwa had leased the property to Shelf Drilling Nigeria Limited for N61 million which was credited to his Zenith Bank account, with number 1010240758.