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Arraignment of 23 INEC officials mentioned in Rivers bribe scandal for Sept 15

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By Davies Iheamnachor

PORT HARCOURT— A Federal high court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday, adjourned till September 15 for the arraignment of the 23 staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, mentioned in the bribery allegation in Rivers State.

The adjournment was sequel to an application by counsel for the first to 20th defendants, Wale Balogun, that the matter was not urgent, so should not be handled during the vacation period.

The court had fixed for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, within the justices’ vacation period for arraignment of the suspects and trial.

The prosecuting counsel, Alilu Kayode, had, during the sitting, requested the court to withdraw the earlier charges against the defendants and prayed the court to take the amended charges against the suspects.

In his submission, the defence counsel, Balogun, insisted that the matter should not be heard during vacation period because it does not require such urgency.

Referring to Criminal Practice Direction, Criminal Trial (Federal High Court), Balogun, noted that the law provides that the parties in a case must agree before a case is fixed during vacation, adding that it was not in doubt that the two conditions were lacking in the case.

Meanwhile, trial judge, Justice Hilary Oshomah, noted that the matter was charged to court before the vacation and that it is not a vacation matter and adjourned till September 15 for arraignment of the suspects and trial.

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