Court tackles Mike Ozekhome over delay in Fayose’s ally trial


Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja today berated Mike Ozekhome, SAN, over “attempt to frustrate” the corruption trial process of Abiodun Agbele, an aide to Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Agbele is standing trial alongside a former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro (who was arraigned in absentia), Sylvan Mcnamara Limited, A. O. Adewale, Tunde Oshinowo and Olalekan Ogunseye on 11-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N1.2 billion.

The money was said to be part of N4.7billion allegedly transferred from the imprest account of the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, to the bank account of Sylvan McNamara, a company allegedly owned by the sons of Obanikoro.

At the last sitting, May 24, 2017 the court ordered Ozekhome, who through an oral application, indicated his intention to withdraw appearance for the second defendant, Sylvan McNamara, to file and serve an application of notice of withdrawal within three days and endorse a copy to all the parties in the proceeding.

At the resumed hearing today, Ozekhome was absent in court but was represented by a counsel, Godwin Iyinbor, who informed the court that they were yet to serve the process “because of difficulties”.

Responding, counsel to the EFCC, Wahab Shittu, kicked saying, “this is a calculated attempt by the learned silk to frustrate the trial process and it should be discouraged”.

Describing the development as “unhealthy”, Shittu said that the EFCC had been bringing its witnesses to court at great cost.

The matter could still not proceed as Olalekan Ojo, counsel to the third defendant, had written to the court that he would be attending an interview for the award of Senior Advocate of Nigeria slated for Monday and Tuesday at the Supreme Court and sought for an adjournment.

However, the court in granting Ojo’s application frowned at the attitude of Ozekhome and ordered service of the process before the next adjourned date of October 12 and 13, 2017.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.


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