Legal Nigeria

Judge questions EFCC’s diligence in ex-Punch Director’s trial

By Adebisi Onanuga

Justice Mojisola Dada of an Ikeja Special Offences Court on Wednesday expressed concern over the manner officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were handling the trial of former Executive Director of Punch Newspaper Azubuike Ishiekwene.

The judge questioned the diligence of the EFCC team in prosecuting the ex-Punch chief.

Ishiekwene and co-defendant Olalekan Abdul are facing an amended 15-count charge of forgery, conspiracy to forge, using false documents, making documents without authority and obtaining money by false pretences.

During resumed proceedings on Wednesday, Kunle Adegoke (SAN), counsel to Ishiekwene, cross-examined prosecution witness Ndubuize Onyebuchi, a professor of Geology, over the disparity in his claims for deed of trust.

Adegoke also took him up on his Zenith Bank statement of account which indicated transfer of shares cash.

Responding, EFCC counsel Idris Mohammed said the defence cannot question the witness on the documents on the grounds that they are not certified true copies. Adegoke explained that the documents in contention were part of exhibits already admitted  but were extracted by the EFCC to mislead the court.

When the court went through the documents, which included a Zenith Bank statement of account, it was discovered that records from 2010 to 2012 were missing, which ought to be from 2010 to 2019.

Justice Dada queried the EFCC counsel Mohammed Idris and frowned at the agency’s lack of diligence in prosecuting corruption cases.

She adjourned the case till April 7.

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