The Ikeja High Court on Monday expressed dissatisfaction with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for delaying the trial of former Managing Director of Afribank Plc, Sebastine Adigwe.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Adigwe is standing trial alongside Osa Osunde, Isa Zailani, Chinedu Onyia, Henry Arogundade and Peter Ololo before Justice Olabisi Akinlade.
The six accused persons are standing trial for allegedly stealing N87.5 billion belonging to Afribank Plc (now Mainstreet Bank).
They are facing a 36-count charge of conspiracy, stealing and receiving stolen property.
During Monday's proceedings, the judge expressed dissatisfaction with the EFCC’s inability to make proper preparations to begin the trial.
Akinlade said that the EFCC’s prosecution team led by Messrs Kola Awodein and Abubakar Mahmud (both SANs) to present a ``competent witness'' was stalling the trial.
She observed that the development was similar to the conduct of the prosecution at the last proceedings in which they could not produce their first witness.
The judge said she was forced to adjourn the last proceeding to May 21 following the prosecution’s failure to produce their witness.
She said that ``I am shocked that the EFCC could still repeat that failure again``.
She adjourned the matter to June 29.
The EFCC’s attempt to call its first witness, Mr Emmanuel Al-Hassan, an EFCC investigative officer, was opposed by the defence counsel at Monday’s proceedings.
The defence team, including Osaro Eghobamien (SAN), Mr Yakub Bayero and Mr Nnamdi Oragwu, observed that Al-Hassan’s name was not listed as a witness in the proof of evidence served on them.
The defence counsel argued that they did not have any background information on Al-Hassan and urged the court not to allow him to testify.
They further argued that they would not proceed unless the prosecution presented a fresh witness from the seven listed in their proof of evidence.
Following the development, the judge asked the prosecution to call another witness but was disappointed when the prosecution said that they had no other witness in court.