An Abuja Federal High Court yesterday cautioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over its delay in the trial of former Minister of Interior, Abba Moro and two others.
Moro was standing trial along with former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Anesthesia Nwobia, a Deputy Director in the Ministry, F.O. Alayabami and Drexel Nigeria Limited over alleged N676 million Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment scam.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba had decried the EFCC for failing to produce a witness in court for continuation of the trial.The judge also vowed to take necessary action should the prosecution fail to produce witness on October 4, being the next adjourned date.
When the case was called for hearing yesterday, the prosecution counsel, Elizabeth Alabi, told the court that her witness was not in court due to inability to communicate with him.She added that the prosecution was unable to hold a pre-trial session due to the two-day Eid-el-Fitr holiday.
“The witness is a banker and resides in Lagos. In the circumstances, we shall be asking for an adjournment to enable us bring the witness to court,” she said. Justice Dimgba, worried by the sloppy prosecution of the case, warned the prosecution against unnecessary waste of time.
“This is your case and you have to arrange it in such a way as to avoid this kind of nonsense. Your reasons sound a little sloppy with respect. “If I strike out this case for want of diligent prosecution, a lot of noise would be made by people who were not in court. “We have to stop this nonsense and let it not repeat itself. You have to be ready for trial at the next adjourned date or else, I will take the necessary action,” he warned.
However, Moro’s counsel, A.T. Kehinde (SAN), objected to the application for adjournment for lack of genuine reason.He demanded that the prosecution counsel be made to write an undertaking promising to produce the witness on the next adjourned date.Chief Chris Uche (SAN), who appeared for the second defendant-Nwobia, stated that the court has spoken his mind on the issue.
He reminded the court that the matter was also adjourned on May 19 at the instance of the prosecution.Meanwhile, Sunday Ameh (SAN), who represented Drexel Nigerian Limited, asked the court to issue a warrant of arrest on prosecution witness for disobeying a subpoena issued by the court.In his ruling, Justice Dimgba pleaded with the defence lawyers to be patient till October 4, 2017.