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N5.2bn scam: Court rules on Elumelu trial March 9

By Ise-Oluwa Ige

ABUJA — A Federal High  Court sitting in Abuja yesterday fixed March 9, this year for ruling on a request by the Chairman of House Committee on Power, Hon Ndudi Elumelu, seeking to stop his trial until the EFCC makes available to him a copy of proof of evidence it intended to use in prosecuting him.

Ugbane, Elumelu and 29 others were charged last year by the EFCC before the Abuja Federal High Court over allegation of defrauding the Federal Government of N5.2 billion earmarked for rural electricity projects. 21 of the accused persons were corporate persons.

The names of the companies had since been delisted from the charge while the name of Paulinus Igwe who was causing delay in the trial of the case, was also removed.

The remaining accused persons were arraigned afresh before Justice Umar Garba of the Abuja Federal High Court and they had all pleaded not guilty to the charge.

But as soon as a trial date was fixed for the accused persons, the legal team of Elumelu filed an application seeking an order compelling EFCC to serve them the proof of evidence it intended to use against them in court.
He said trial in criminal case is not about setting trap for the accused persons with a view to catch them unaware.

He said the 1999 constitution which is the basic law of the land stipulated that an accused person facing criminal trial must be availed ample time and facilities to prepare his trial.


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