Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday, cautioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against several requests for an adjournment in the case involving the former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Mohammed Adoke and a businessman, Aliyu Abubakar.
The duo are facing a 14-count criminal charge bordering on money laundering.
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Wednesday, the trial Judge, handed over the caution, after counsel to the EFCC, Bala Sanga requested for a short adjournment following the absence of the fifth prosecution witness in court.
According to the EFCC counsel, the supposed fifth witness became hesitant and refused to appear before the court to testify.
However, he added that a subpoena has been issued and served on the witness on Wednesday morning and prayed the court for a short adjournment to enable the prosecution to bring its witness.
In his response, Justice Ekwo told the prosecution counsel to take notice that there is a limit to the number of adjournments he can request.
It would be recalled that yesterday’s adjournment made it the fourth time the court has adjourned the case at the instance of the prosecution.
Section 396(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) provides that, “Where day to day trial is impracticable after arraignment, no party shall be entitled to more than five adjournments from arraignment to final judgment.”
Meanwhile, the fourth prosecution witness, Farouk Suleiman, a bureau de change (BDC) operator, told the court that sometime in September 2013, Abubakar (second defendant) gave him seven cheques totalling N2 billion and asked him to change it to the dollar equivalent.
Suleiman said he cleared the cheques through Farsman Holdings Limited, his company account, with the Heritage Bank.
After changing the money into dollars, the witness said he paid $9, 084,700 in cash to one Abdulhakeem Uthman Mustapha, a lawyer, in five tranches after which he handed a residual balance in cash to Abubakar.
Suleiman said under cross-examination, that neither the cheques nor the receipt of transactions had the name of the second defendant and added that the cheques were drawn in the name of “Equal Access Limited.”