EFCC arrests Jonathan’s cousin over $40m contract
• Court adjourns Dasuki’s trial to May 3
A cousin and confidant of former President Goodluck Jonathan has been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over a $40 million contract obtained from the Office of the National Security Adviser under Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
According to investigation, Managing Director of Katakar Civil Engineering Company, Mr. Azibaola Robert (Jonathan’s cousin), and the Executive Director of the company, Dakoru Atukpa, were arrested by operatives of the EFCC over two weeks ago, and have remained in custody since then.
However, Azibaola’s lawyer, Gordy Uche (SAN) in a reaction yesterday stated that the arrest of his client was a vendetta against the former president. He explained that his client had been in detention for over two weeks with the commission obtaining a remand order from the court to keep holding him in custody.
According to him, the EFCC is accusing his client in order for the Federal Government not to pay the balance of $4 million on the contract sum. Uche stated that his client had successfully carried out a contract for “the security of the oil pipelines which saw Nigeria reap billions of US dollars from increased oil production.” He is demanding that the EFCC charges his clients to court or release them on bail.
Meanwhile, an FCT High Court has denied an application for long adjournment of trial of Dasuki. The trial judge instead adjourned till May 3rd, 2016 when the first defendant (Dasuki) would be allowed to have adequate access to his counsel for proper defence in the matter.
Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf said to ensure that no one receives or is given undue advantage, the matter would be adjourned for two weeks. The court, however, agreed on the due date after Defense Counsel Joseph Daudu (SAN) had prayed the judge to allow more time for proper briefing with his client and that he would not be available for 10 days of the FCT area council chairmanship and councilorship elections.
At the commencement of the trial at 12:30 pm, Daudu had told the court that the defence was not ready because they had not had access to the defendant, “unless if the prosecution wants to carry on a one-sided trial.”
“In this instance, our requirement is very fundamental; for a counsel to do his work he has to have access to the defendant. Also, the defendant needs to have access to his documents,” Daudu told the court.
He prayed the court for a long adjournment of the matter that he may have access to his client, adding that there would not have been a call for the adjournment if the prosecution had adhered to the ruling of the court and given the defence bail granted to him by the court.
The prosecution led by Adebisi Adeniyi, who stood in for Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), objected to the application, arguing that it had no basis.
He said: “The first ground relied upon by counsel to the first defendant relating to lack of access to the first defendant is no substantial reason the matter needs be adjourned.
“You will recall that at the last adjourned date, we got a report that nobody had made any attempt to see the first defendant (Dasuki) and was refused. Other than the information submitted by the learned senior counsel, no concrete evidence has been supplied before the court that anyone has made attempt and was refused.”
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