By James Uwem
ABUJA â€” IJAW national leader, ChiefÂ Edwin Clark, yesterday, accused the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. MichaelÂ Aondookaa, SAN, of plotting to free the former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, from the corruption charges leveled against him in a Federal High Court in Asaba, Delta State.
In a protest letter to the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Idris Kutigi and made available to Vanguard, Chief Clark also appealed to the Chief Justice to replace the trial Judge in the case, Justice Awokulehin, in the interest of justice and fair play.
The letter read in part â€œwith reference to your Lordshipâ€™s query letter of 21stÂ Â October to Justice Awokulehin on â€˜gross misconductâ€™ for writing directly to a Judge in London in respect of the case of FRN Vs James Ibori and Anor without preference to the hierarchy of the judiciary.
â€œIÂ humblyÂ submitÂ that it willÂ Â notÂ be in the interest ofÂ Â justiceÂ andÂ fair playÂ Â Â forÂ theÂ sameÂ JudgeÂ Â Â whoÂ isÂ yetÂ toÂ answerÂ Â hisÂ queryÂ Â onÂ gross misconduct, toÂ go on andÂ presideÂ over aÂ case in which he is being seen to have already taken side. In that regard, Justice Awokulehin is no longer competent to adjudicate on the matter, therefore he should be restrained from continuing with the caseâ€. Clark stated
Clark faulted the decision to create the Asaba Division of the Federal High Court for the purpose of trying Ibori. HeÂ saidÂ Â theÂ moveÂ isÂ aÂ game plan by the Attorney-General, Mr. Aondoakaa to free IboriÂ in theÂ criminalÂ chargesÂ leveledÂ againstÂ him.
â€œIÂ further submitÂ to my HonourableÂ Â chiefÂ justiceÂ Â thatÂ theÂ circumstanceÂ Â surrounding the creation of AsabaÂ DivisionÂ ofÂ theÂ Federal HighÂ Court andÂ Â Â theÂ appointments of the trial Judge are of great concern to our people whose property were looted byÂ theÂ accused, Chief James Ibori .
â€œMy lord, our fear is that justice will not be done if the same judge continues to adjudicate on the matter, because despite the judgment of the Kaduna Court of appeal, the trial of some governors is still taking place outside their state.
â€œMy Lord, the purpose of this protest letter is to kindly appeal to you to halt the trial in Asaba and cause the transfer of Justice Awokulehin whose integrity and honour is already in doubt,â€ he said.