Alleged bribe: CCT threatens to strike out charge against Orubebe

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The Chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar, on Wednesday threatened to strike out the case brought by the Federal Government against former Minister of Niger-Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe.

Danladi gave the warning following the prosecution’s failure to open trial in the case.

Orubebe was arraigned before the tribunal on November 9 last year on a four-count charge of false assets declaration and acceptance of N70million bribe.

The prosecution, led by Peter Danladi, on November 9, 2015 sought an adjournment for two weeks to enable it prepare its witnesses for trial.

The tribunal granted the prosecution’s prayer and adjourned to November 26 for the prosecution to open trial.

On November 26 everyone had expected the prosecution to call its witnesses, only for Danladi to announce plans by the prosecution to amend the charge.

The prosecutor said he intended to amend counts two, three and four, a request the defence lawyer, Selekowei Larry (SAN), opposed.

At Wednesday’s proceedings, a new prosecution lawyer, E.A. Orji, who said he was from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), sought a further adjournment to enable him prepare for trial.

Orji said although the case was slated for hearing, the original case file was transfered from the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to the Department of Public Prosecution of the Federation (DPPF) in the office of the Minister of Justice and AGF.

“I got to know of this development this morning. In the circumstance, we shall be asking for a date. We are looking at between three to four weeks adjournment to enable us study the case file and proceed with this matter with dispatch.

“It is not our practice to delay trial. I have, before the court’s sitting informed the defence,” Orji said.

Responding, Larry objected to the prosecution’s application for adjournment.

He said: “This matter commenced on November 9, 2015. After plea was taken, there was some argument as to the next step forward.

“The case was adjourned to November 26, 2015. On that day, the case could not go on because the prosecution hinted the court that it wanted to amend the charge.”