Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 23 November 2018 | 636 times
Justice Babatunde Quadri of a Federal High Court, Abuja, has adjourned the trial of Nicholas Ashinze, a former special assistant to then National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd); an Austrian, Wolfgang Reinl; Edidiong Idiong and Sagir D. Mohammed to February 20, 2019.
They are facing a 13-count charge of corruption and money laundering to the tune of N3.6 billion.
At Thursday’s sitting, prosecuting counsel, Offem Uket, had sought to tender some documents in court through the first witness, Remigus Ugwu.
Ugwu, a compliance officer with Zenith Bank PLC, Maitama, Abuja branch, narrated how the respondent via a subpoena was directed to respond to enquiries by EFCC sometimes in 2017.
However, defence counsel, Ernest Nwoye, objected to the subpoena, which he argued was previously issued by Justice Gabriel Kolawole who was presiding over the matter and so “was part of the legal proceedings formerly nullified”.
He said: “The witness in the witness stand was part of the terminated proceedings before Justice Kolawole and in my humble submission surrounding this criminal case, matters have to start afresh therefore the prosecution cannot take part of the previous proceedings today.
“All applications have to start de novo before your lordship. Even the bail application was reapplied for on June 1, 2018 before this honourable court and we did not take advantage and the plea was taken afresh alongside three others.”
Citing a Supreme Court ruling, he further argued that “if the witness wants to tender documents, he can, but that cannot make him a witness under oath as we are unaware of the subpoena tendered.”
While requesting for an adjournment, Uket, told the Court that the subpoena will be duly served.
Justice Quadri, thereafter, ruled that fresh applications for the subpoena be served and “copies given to all the defence counsel in order to bring the counsel up to speed with the legal proceedings”.
In view of the issues raised, the trial judge adjourned the case to February 20 and 21, 2019 for both parties to do the needful and for commencement of trial.
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