The trial of the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Honourable Adeyemi Ikuforiji and his personal assistant, Oyebode Atoyebi over allegations of money laundering has being stalled following the withdrawal of the Chief Prosecutor, Godwin Obla from the case.
When the matter came up for continuation of trial at the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday, a senior counsel with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr Alli Yussuf announced Mr Obla’s withdrawal in court.
Mr Yussuf told the presiding Judge, Justice Okechukwu Okeke that though he was yet to see the letter written to that effect, he was compelled to appear in the case following the withdrawal of Mr Obla who had been handling the case since inception.
Mr Obla was said to have attributed his withdrawal to the 13 trial days in the month of April, starting from today Tuesday, fixed by the court for the hearing of the matter.
He said these dates would considerably constrain his ability to diligently prosecute the matter, as he had other legal proceedings before various courts and arbitral tribunals within and outside the country which conflict with the dates fixed by the court.
Mr Obla was also said to have advised the EFCC to retain the services of another counsel whose calendar can accommodate the dates fixed for the matter by the court.
Mr Yussuf however urged the court to adjourn the matter for another three weeks to enable him study the case file.
Counsel for the Lagos Speaker, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) opposed the request of the EFCC for adjournment.
The defence counsel pointed out that this was a case in which the accused person was begging for prosecution so as to clear his name while the prosecutor was running away from prosecuting. He therefore urged the court to either dismiss or strike out the charges against the accused persons.
The EFCC counsel swiftly opposed this application and further urged court for more time to enable him study the case file so as to properly prosecute.
Justice Okeke has enjoined the EFCC to engage the services of another prosecuting counsel to continue the case. He then adjourned the matter till the 24th of April.
Channels TV has however gathered that the trial judge is due for retirement in May and would not be able to conclude the case, thereby further stalling the trial.