Justice A. O. Otaluka of the Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in JIMOH O. MOSHOOD, on Wednesday, October 9, 2017 ordered Barrister Samson Paul, counsel to Sebastine Duru, a suspected land racketeer, to pay the sum of N5, 000 (Five Thousand Naira) as fine to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for delaying trial.
Duru was arraigned on May 18, 2017 on one-count charge of fraud to the tune of N86million.
He was alleged to have, between 2012 and 2013 “in Abuja defrauded and obtained the sum of N86million from one Alhaji Aliyu Idris Shuaibu on the pretext of re-instatement of Plot No. 4 Cadastral Zone C10 located at Wumba District and allocation of a new plot of land”.
The case, which was initially slated for June 5, 2017 for commencement of trial, has suffered several adjournments due to the continued absence of the counsel in court.
At the resumed trial today, though the defendant (Duru) was present in court, his counsel was absent, no representative and no reason given.
Counsel to EFCC, Muktar Ahmed frowned at the continued absence of the counsel and urged the court to impose sanction on him for what he described as “a calculated attempt to frustrate trial”.
According to him, the EFCC had always been bringing its witnesses to court at high costs.
Justice Otaluka, in granting the prosecution’s prayer said, “the court will no longer tolerate any action aimed at frustrating speedy trial from either of the parties.
Thereafter, the judge adjourned to October 25, 2017 for continuation of trial.
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