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Court threatens to close ICPC’s case against NBC boss

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Ishaq Moddibo-Kawu


Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has threatened to close the case filed by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) against the director-general of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Ishaq Modibbo, and three others for lack of diligent prosecution.

The threat followed an oral application made by Alex Izinyon (SAN), counsel to the second and third defendants (Dipo Onifade and Lucky Omoluwa), and supported by counsel to the first and fourth defendants.

The defence counsel had expressed dissatisfaction with how the prosecution counsel was conducting the trial. On May 27, the last adjourned date, ICPC’s lawyer, Henry Emoreh, called only two witnesses and assured Justice Ogunbanjo-Giwa that he would bring his remaining witnesses to court on June 3.

Based on Emoreh’s assurance, the court agreed that the remaining witnesses should all appear in court on Monday, June 3.
But when the matter resumed on Monday, the prosecution, after calling the sixth witness, told the court that he could not continue with the trial due to absence of two other witnesses. He told the court that one of his witnesses travelled to Saudi Arabia for lesser Hajj while the other was bereaved.

He consequently prayed for an adjournment to enable him call the remaining two witnesses.But Izinyon applied orally for the court to close the case. He said: “We have tolerated the prosecution. If it is not prepared to proceed with this trial, please close their case. They should put their house in order and stop wasting the time of the court.

“Today, they just served on the defence additional proof of evidence in court.“The court fixed today for this trial, but after calling one witness, the prosecution counsel is requesting an adjournment, thereby wasting the court’s precious time.”

Counsel to the fourth defendant (Pinnacle Communications), Amah Etuwewe, aligned with Izinyon’s application. Similarly, counsel to the first defendant asked the court to close the case of the prosecution.

Addressing the prosecution counsel, the judge said: “You heard the applications and complaints of the defence counsel and I agree with them. I think it is in your own interest to put your house in order. I adjourned this case for today for you to bring all your witnesses, so that we can make progress.

“I could have fixed other cases today, but the whole day is wasted. You must bring all your witnesses in court on the next adjourned date or I will close your case,” the court stated.

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