By Ebitonye Akpodigha
The trial of a former Governor of Plateau State, Mr Joshua Dariye, before Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the FCT High Court sitting in Gudu, Abuja was stalled on Thursday, October 20, 2016, as Dariye’s counsel, Mr Nantok Joshua, asked for an adjournment to enable the defence produce a ruling purportedly delivered by a Kaduna State High Court, which it intended to tender and build on with its next witnesses.
The ruling, according to Mr Joshua, deals with the ecological funds, which is the crux of the case, couldn’t be tendered because the Registrar of the Kaduna State High Court was unavailable to provide it with a copy.
Justice Banjoko expressed dismay with action of the defence, insisting that the public must be told the truth of what is going on before her court in a trial that has dragged on for close to a decade.
Apparently uncomfortable with the way the defence is handling its case, the judge further said that, “even if I am not in court, I should be asked why?”
She admonished counsels to be accountable for their actions saying, “Judges, more often than not, are being blamed for the incessant delays in cases.”
Aside that, Justice Banjoko noted that, the purported ruling waiting to be collected from a court of coordinate jurisdiction, was only persuasive and not binding on her court.
Counsel to EFCC, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), had earlier kicked against the defence request for a further adjournment insisting that the case slated for hearing must go on.
The case has been adjourned to Wednesday, October 26, 2016, for continuation of hearing.
Mr Dariye is being prosecuted by the EFCC for allegedly siphoning Plateau State’s ecological funds to the tune of N1.16 billion.
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