A former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, and two others are currently facing trial over allegations of fraud said to be to the tune of about N3bn. A report stated the trial continued today at a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.
According to a report monitored on Channels TV NG, the 13th prosecution witness, Ovie Akpoyibo, an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), took the witness box.
The witness who is serving at the Port Harcourt office of the commission narrated how the EFCC unsuccessfully failed to arrest a cashier to the Abia State Government House, Micheal Akpan Udoh.
The witness also testified that efforts to serve a court summons on Udoh for him to appear as a witness in the case has also yielded no positive results.
The EFCC says the testimony of the cashier is crucial to its case.
While Counsel to the former Governor has however faulted the EFCC for the prolonged trial of his client.
Mr Charles Enwelunta told Justice Mohammed Idris that the prolonged trial is negatively taking its toll on the defendants. The other defence counsel agreed with this submission and urged the court to intervene.
But the Counsel to the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Jacobs objected and insisted that there was no proof that the Commission was deliberately delaying the trial.
He further submitted that the defendants should instead blame themselves for any perceived delay in the case.
“The case was filed since 2007 and the defendants challenged the jurisdiction of the court up until 2015, before the Supreme Court made a final pronouncement on the issue. I cannot be forced to close my case because we need to bring the facts before the court”.
Justice Idris held that it was not the courts duty to tell the EFCC how to conduct its case. He also assured parties that all issues in the case would be handled in accordance with the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
Further hearing in the matter was then fixed for Tuesday, March 20, 2018.
Channels TV NG