Peace Corps boss, Akoh, wants court to stop his trial
THE National Commandant of the Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN), Ambassador Dickson Akoh on Tuesday asked Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to adjourn indefinitely, his trial in the alleged money laundering charges preferred against him by the Police.
According to the Peace Corps boss, his request to put the trial on hold indefinitely followed the refusal of the Police to un-seal the Headquarters of the PCN in Abuja, which was sealed by the Police since February 28, 2016.
Akoh’s counsel, Mr. John Ochogwu, who argued the motion on notice filed by the Peace Corps boss claimed that the Police have lost the right to be heard by the court, having fallen into the contempt of court by the refusal to obey the order of the court.
In the motion supported with a16-paragraph affidavits, the defendant drew the attention of the court to its decision of January 16, 2018, where the Police were ordered to immediately vacate the premises of the PCN and allow the defendant unfettered access to the office.
He said, since the order was made and served on the Police, the Police have continued to treat it with levity by deliberately refusing to comply with it.
The defendant further claimed that the action of the Police was capable of truncating democracy and the rule of law and urged the court to compel the Police to respect the order before the trial can be continued.
Besides, Akoh claimed that he has been disadvantaged in preparing for his defence in the 13-count charges brought against him because all documents and facilities needed for his defence have been seized by the Police and the office closed.
He drew the attention of the court to Section 36(6) of the 1999 Constitution, which empowers the court to bar a party from being heard by a court when such a party is in contempt of the court, and added that, “He who goes to equity, must go in clean hands.”
Ochogwu, therefore, urged Justice John Tsoho to compel the Police to purge themselves of contempt by stopping the trial of the defendant for now, until the order of the court made since January was obeyed in the interest of rule of law.
However, counsel to the complainant, Mr. Andrew Don-Oboh urged the court to refuse the prayer of the defendant as contained in his motion on notice.
He told the court that Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 did not permit a stay of proceedings in a criminal matter and pleaded with the Judge not to entertain the motion.
After listening to arguments from both parties in the matter, Justice Tsoho fixed June 11, 2018, for ruling in the application.
Akoh and the Incorporated Trustees of the Organization are accused of laundering of funds obtained through unlawful activity.
They were also, among other offences accused of organising and training of members of Peace Corps of Nigeria as a quasi- Military organization contrary to section 6(1)(a) of the Public Order Act, Cap P42, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under the same section of the Act.