UPDATE: Ex-AGF, Adoke's Arraignment Fixed For January 23
The arraignment of former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke was on Wednesday stalled in an FCT High Court in Gwagwalada over confusion from the EFCC.
The arraignment could not hold due to the failure of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to serve the defendants ahead of the proceedings.
EFCC’s lead prosecuting, Bala Sanga, told the court that the commission had only served the charges on the fifth to the seventh defendants – Nigeria Agip Exploration, Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited, and Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited.
He said the commission had not served the second defendant, Aliyu Abubakar, because he was on the run and was only arrested Wednesday morning.
Sanga added that the commission wanted to ensure that Aliyu was arrested and served before others would be served.
He said he was surprised to find the defence lawyers in court.
Among the seven defendants, only the fourth defendant, Malabu Oil and Gas Limited was not represented by a lawyer.
But the firm was represented by one of its officials, who told the court that the firm had not been served.
Aliyu’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), protested the prosecution’s claim that his client was on the run.
Adoke’s lawyers, Paul Erokoro (SAN) and Mike Ozekhome (SAN) said the EFCC had refused to serve the charges of 42 counts on their client despite that he had been in the agency’s custody since December 19, 2020.
Although counsel representing the defendants, who had yet to be served, told the judge that they were ready to waive their right to being served to enable the arraignment to take place, the judge, Idris Kutigi, insisted that trial could not proceed when the fourth defendant not represented by a lawyer had yet to be served.
The prosecuting counsel then undertook to ensure that all the defendants were served promptly.
Justice Kutigi adjourned the hearing till Thursday.
Sanga told the court that he was at a loss as to why he was in court. (NAN)