DSO trial: Judge threatens to close ICPC’s case against NBC boss, others

Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday threatened to close the case of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) against the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission NBC, Ishaq Modibbo and three others for lack of diligent prosecution.

The threat followed an oral application by Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), counsel to the 2nd and 3rd defendants (Dipo Onifade and Lucky Omoluwa) and supported by counsel representing the 1st and 4th defendants.

The defence counsel had expressed dissatisfaction over the way and manner the prosecution counsel was conducting the trial in piece meal.

At the last adjourned date, May 27, the ICPC lawyer, Henry Emoreh, had called only two witnesses and assured Justice Giwa that he would bring all his remaining witnesses to court on June 3.

Based, on Emoreh’s assurance, the court directed him to bring all his witnesses to court on Monday instead of bringing them one per sitting.

However, at Monday’s proceedings, after calling the 6th witness, the prosecution counsel told the court that he could not continue the trial due to the absence of two other witnesses.

The ICPC lawyer told the court that one of his witnesses travelled to Saudi Arabia for lesser Hajj, while the other was bereaved.

Worried by the prosecution counsel’s call for an adjournment, Izinyon, made an oral application asking the court to close the case of the prosecution.

“We have tolerated the prosecution, if the prosecution is not prepared to proceed with this trial, my Lord, please close their case. They should put their house in order and stop wasting the time of the court.

“Today, they just served on the defence, additional proof of evidence in court.

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“The court fixed today for this trial but after calling one witness, the prosecution counsel is requesting an adjournment and thereby wasting the court’s precious time,” Izinyon said.

Counsel to the 4th defendant (Pinnacle Communications Ltd) Amah Etuwewe, associated himself with Izinyon’s application.

Similarly, counsel to the 1st defendant (Modibbo) asked the court to close the case of the prosecution.

Addressing the prosecution counsel, the Judge said: “You heard the applications and complaints of the defence counsel and I agree with them.

“I think it is in your own interest to put your house in order. I adjourned this case for today for you to bring all your witnesses so that we can make progress.

“I could have fixed other cases today but the whole day is wasted. I will not close your case but you must bring all your witnesses in court on the next adjourned date or I will close your case,” the court stated.

Justice Giwa specifically noted that the prosecution flouted the order of the court directing him to bring all his witnesses in court on Monday.

Earlier, the court admitted in evidence, bank documents from the sixth prosecution witness, Remigius Ugwu, a Complaint Officer with a first generation bank.

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