The EFCC, on Wednesday, opposed an application for adjournment by J.O Asoluka, SAN, counsel to 2nd defendant, in the trial of Rep. Nicholas Mutu, Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) and Gas Resources, on allegations bordering on corruption.
Counsel to EFCC, Ekele Iheanacho, told Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, that the defence application was an attempt to frustrate the trial.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that while the EFCC is the plaintiff, the lawmaker, his two companies; Airworld Technologies Ltd. and Oyien Homes Ltd. were 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants respectively.
Mutu was, on Feb. 3, docked at the court over alleged graft of N320.1 million.
The anti-graft agency had filed 11 counts amended charge against the legislator.
He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, Asoluka, who told the court that he was debriefed to defend Airworld Technologies Ltd (2nd defendant), sought for an adjournment to enable him study the case file.
“We have just been retained to defend the second defendant in this matter. And we are informed that the matter is for continuation of examination of 1st prosecution witness (PW1).
“I apply for an adjournment in the interest of justice to enable me study the entire court processes in order to defend the 2nd defendant properly,” he said.
Reacting, Iheanacho opposed the application, urging the court to discountenance the Asoluka’s request.
“We are opposing it because all the defendants have always been represented by the learned SAN, P.I.N. Ikwueto.
“This matter is slated for continuation of trial and the SAN Ikwueto is here.
“The call for an adjournment is just to frustrate this trial My Lord,” he said.
The EFCC lawyer also argued that he had already three witnesses in court and they all came from far places.
According to Section 36 of the constitution . I do not think justice will be served if we continue.
EFCC: We have 3 witnesses here and they all come from a long journey.
However, Justice Giwa-Ogunbanjo said based on Section 36 of the Constitution, she didn’t think justice would be served if the matter should proceed.
“Under the ACJA (Administration of Criminal Justice Act), every one is entitled to fair hearing and by the way, this is the first time the 2nd defendant lawyer is taking the adjournment.
“It is unfortunate that your witnesses are coming from far places,” she said.
The judge then adjourned the matter at the instance of the 2nd defendant until March 5 for continuation of examination of witnesses in the trial.
NAN reports that among the 11 count charges against Mutu is that while being the Chairman, House Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission between Aug. 2014 and Aug. 2016, the lawmaker did procure Airworld Technologies Ltd to conceal N320 million to be paid by Starline Consultancy Services Ltd when he reasonably ought to have known that the said sum of money formed part of proceeds of corruption, gratification and fraudulent acquisition of property contrary to the Money Laundering Prohibition Act’’.