The inability of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to present its witnesses has stalled the trial of Azibaola Robert before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
At the resumed hearing on Monday, the EFCC counsel, Francis Jirbo, said the commission was unable to present any of its witnesses in the court despite promising to do so at the last sitting on January 30, 2017. He said the commission has six more witnesses to present out of which three are external while three are internal EFCC operatives. Unfortunately, however, he is unable to secure the attendance of any of them.
Robert’s counsel, Gordy Uche (SAN) expressed dissatisfaction over the delay tactics of the prosecution which, at the beginning of the trial, had argued for a speedy trial in accordance with the Criminal Justice Act.
“If at the end of the next adjournment date and the prosecution is not able to present its witnesses, we shall be constrained to ask that this charge be struck out,” Uche said.
“We came prepared for the trial to continue today, but surprisingly the prosecution seems not ready,” says Uche, who led the defence team of 17 lawyers. He called for a speedy trial of the case “because my client has suffered so much since this case began.”
“As you know, my lord, this is one case that has attracted so much media attention and our team is prepared to deal with this matter once and for all,” Uche said.
Justice Dimgba who was obviously displeased at the turn of the events initially asked the EFCC to proceed with the trial by calling their internal witnesses. But as it turned out the commission was still unable to produce any.
Gordy Uche had asked for a very short adjournment but the EFCC counsel objected and asked for at least one month to enable it “gather its witnesses”.
It could be recalled that at the last adjourned date of the matter on 30th January the EFCC, which similarly was unable to produce any witness, asked for a long adjournment of one month to enable it gather all its witnesses and finish its case. But this was not to be as it only came back to ask, yet again, for another long adjournment.
Justice Dimgba adjourned the trial to 27th and 28th of April 2017.