Jonathan’s aide, Dudafa, others plead not guilty to amended charge
Also, Dudafa’s co-defendant, Iwejuo Joseph Nna, equally pleaded not guilty to the alleged N1.6bn fraud.
The plea of the two defendants were retaken on the amended charge dated November 9, 2018, after Justice Mohammed Idris, had ruled that the prosecution can amend charge before judgment of any case.
Delivering ruling either to allow the amended charge or to dismissing it, Justice Idris held that an amendment was permissible by law at any time before judgment, adding that once there is an amendment, the accused are expected to plead to same.
“Section 396(7) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, allows the court to conclude part heard matters within reasonable time, and I have no doubt that this falls within the ambit of the law.
“This court is sitting pursuant to a fiat, and this fiat is not open ended, but will expire after its time, and the trial will begin de novo before another judge.
“The defendants are at liberty to call or recall any witness in the case; in my opinion, a reasonable time is when the time for justice does not wear out against the parties, but is seen to be done,” Justice Idris ruled.
Following court’s ruling on the amended charge, Ademola Adefolaju and Mr. Olusegun Ehuwa, counsel to the first and second defendants, pleaded with the court for an adjournment to enable their principals, Mr. Gboyega Oyewole (SAN) and Ige Asemudara, be in court when the plea of the defendants would be taken.
But their request was turned down, and the trial judge ordered that the amended charge be read to the defendants for their plea to be taken.
Both Dudafa and Nna however pleaded not guilty to the amended charge.
The matter has been adjourned till November 19, for continuation of trial.