Goodluck Jonathan’s Cousin trial stalled as EFCC fails to produce witnesses

The trial of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s cous­in, Robert Azibaola and his wife, Stella, before a Feder­al High Court in Abuja was on Monday stalled.
The couple are standing tri­al on a seven-count charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) preferred against them for an alleged $40 million contract scam.
At the resumed sitting on the case on Monday, the EFCC law­yer, Mr. Tahir Sylvanus, regretted his inability to produce the witnesses, even as he sought for an adjournment.
Tahir told the court that he would be able to assemble his witnesses and conclude his evi­dence-in-chief within two days and rest his case.
The adjournment request was not opposed by counsel to the defendants, Chief Chris Uche (SAN).
In his ruling, Justice Nnam­di Dimgba, granted the request of the EFCC, even as he sought more cooperation of the parties for the speedy determination of the case.
Azibaola was arrested on March 23, 2016, and arraigned before the high court after he had spent 90 days in EFCC’s custody.
The anti-graft agency has so far called four witnesses who have all denied knowing the de­fendants or having anything to do with their company, Oneplus Holdings Nig. Ltd.
One of the witnesses, Mr. Ibrahim Mahe, a retired Per­manent Secretary in the former NSA’s office and EFCC’s star wit­ness, told the court on June 28, 2016, that the funds to which the defendants are being prosecuted, was duly approved, adding that only the former NSA, Col Sam­bo Dasuki (rtd), could say oth­erwise.
In his testimony, a Compli­ance Officer with Zenith Bank, Mr. Boladode Faremo, told the court that Azibaola and his wife were “high net-worth customers of the bank”.
The witness insisted that the inflow of $40m into the account of the defendants was inconse­quential considering their worth.
He said no query had been issued against the defendants in respect of their transactions with the bank.
Justice Dimgba had in a rul­ing on June 8, 2016, granted the defendants who are facing tri­al alongside their firm, OnePlus Holdings Limited, bail to the tune of N1 billion.

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