Digital switch contract: Court gives ICPC last warning to produce witnesses

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday,  gave the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) the last chance to produce its two remaining witnesses in the ongoing trial of the Director-General, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Ishaq Kawu Modibbo, Pinnacle Communications Ltd, and two others.

The trial Judge, Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo- Giwa gave the warning following the failure of ICPC to produce the remaining witnesses in court for the fourth consecutive time.

The court directed the anti-graft agency to produce the witnesses on the next adjourned date of December 3, 2019, or risk closure of its case.

The two remaining witnesses slated to testify for ICPC are the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and a bureau de change operator who was subpoenaed by the court.

Miffed by the inability of the witnesses to appear in court, the defence counsel urged the court to close the case of the prosecution.

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In a short ruling, Justice Ogunbanjo Giwa warned the complainant to desist from the way it is handling the matter, adding that the trial must be in accordance with the provisions of Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

The court then adjourned the case to December 3, 4 and 5 for the prosecution to call its remaining witnesses.

Earlier, Ephraim Otti, who announced appearance for the prosecution told the court that he could not bring the two witnesses to the court because they were not around.

Otti, who said the bureau de change operator travelled to Dubai, did not give any reason for Laid Mohammed’s absence in court.

He, therefore, begged the Judge for another adjournment to enable him to produce the witnesses in court.

Reacting, Akeem Mustapha (SAN), counsel for the 1st defendant (Modibbo) urged the court to grant the adjournment since it’s their fourth request.

But counsel to the First and Second defendants, Jovi  Oguojiafor and the Fourth defendant, Ama Etuwewe (SAN) vehemently opposed the request for an adjournment.

Both lawyers to the defendants urged the court to foreclose the case of the prosecution has failed in their undertaking to produce the witnesses in court as assured on October 2, the last date of adjournment.

 

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