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Diezanigate: Judge’s absence stalls trial of Omokore, others

The trial of an associate of a former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Maduekwe, before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High court, sitting in Abuja, was Wednesday, stalled following the absence of the trial judge.

The associate to the former minister, Olajide Omokore, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Ltd, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd, Victor Briggs, Abiye Membere and David Mbanefo, were arraigned on a nine-count charge by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

All the defendants had pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them by the anti-graft agency and their counsel prayed the court to grant them bail on self recognisance or on liberal terms.

The prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, did not oppose the applications, but however, told the Judge to give them conditions that would make them appear in court for trial.

Justice Binta Nyako, who had listened to the bail application argued by their respective counsel, granted them bail in the sum of N50 million.

The Judge held that each of the defendants must produce a surety, who must either be a senior civil servant or must have a landed property and that the sureties must depose to an affidavit of means and also deposit their international passport before she adjourned the matter till yesterday to commence trial.

The defendants and their respective counsel were all seated in court yesterday when the court registrar announced that Justice Nyako, was attending a conference and would not be around for the trial.

The registrar added that a new date would be communicated to the counsel in the matter.