Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of a Federal High Court Abuja has adjourned the trial of Robert Azibaola, to January 21, 2019 for “continuation of hearing”, after admitting various documents tendered in court by his defence counsel, Goddy Uche.
Azibaola is standing trial along with his firm, One Plus Holdings Nigeria Limited, for allegedly receiving $40 million contract from the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, during the tenure of Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd). He is facing a two-count charge of fraud.
He opened his defence on October 16, 2018 after the court dismissed his no-case submission in part, and struck out seven of the nine counts initially preferred against him by the EFCC.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on January 23, 2017 closed its case against Azibaola, a cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan, after presenting 10 witnesses and tendering several documents admitted as exhibits in court.
At today’s proceeding, Uche tendered a bundle of eight documents through Azibaola, who has since taken to the dock to defend himself.
The bundle of documents include the company’s bank accounts of Kakatar Ce Limited and One Plus Holdings Nigeria Limited with various banks; the naira equivalent withdrawn for One Plus; Some contract awards to One Plus; Sample of equipment provided through Forex from Kakatar and One Plus; evidence of previous engagements for simulation services; seven volumes of pipeline project case disbursement fund; a compact disk, CD of the Goodluck presidential media chat on September 29, 2013, and a report of the technical committee of the Niger-Delta.
Prosecuting counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, while not opposing the tendering of the documents, however, raised concerns about the CD being tendered, when it could not be exactly ascertained what was contained therein.
“We expected that the transcript was what should have been tendered and not the CD, as we don’t know its content, except if it will be shown in open court,” he said.
Based on the insistence of Tahir, Uche, who earlier expressed readiness to show the CD in court, told the court that he would in the instance leave out the CD from the bundle of documents.
“We will leave the CD for now, but will let these ones just go in,” he said.
The trial judge, while upholding the request of Tahir in respect of preference for transcript in replace of the CD, admitted the other documents as exhibits ASO28, ASO29, ASO30, ASO31, ASO32, ASO33a, ASO33b, ASO33c, ASO33d, ASO33e, ASO33f, ASO33g, and ASO34.
Afterwards, Tahir, requested for some time to go through the bundle of documents, observing that “we were not served with the bundle of documents until 28th of November and since then, we have been in and out of court on daily basis, and so we will be vacating subsisting dates, in order for us to have time to go through them”.
Uche, however, urged the Court to discountenance the request, arguing that, “it should be on record that we [defence] wanted to go on”
Acknowledging that the bundle of documents “intimidates anybody”, Justice Dimgba, granted the request of the prosecution and adjourned for “continuation of hearing”.
Media & Publicity
4th Noveber, 2018