The trial of a former Managing Director of the defunct Finbank Plc, Mr. Okey Nwosu and three others charged with a N10.9bn fraud could not go on today at the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja.
The defendants who were supposed to open their defence, told the court that they had been experiencing some difficulty in bringing their witnesses to court and also with obtaining access to documents vital to their defence.
Counsel to the former bank MD told the court that he had filed a subpoena to summon witnesses and obtain documents. He urged the court to grant a short adjournment to enable his client adequately prepare for his defence. The other defence lawyers also made similar requests.
The EFCC prosecutor, Mr Adebisi Adeniyi, however opposed the request for an adjournment, insisting that it was another ploy to frustrate the expeditious trial of the case contrary to the directive of the Supreme Court.
He urged the court not to grant the application but to instead allow the defence witness present in court to begin his testimony.
After listening to all the parties, Justice Lateefa Okunnu ruled that although the defendants had enough time to have applied for witness summons but failed to do so, she would, in the interest of justice, bend backwards to accommodate them.
She then adjourned the case till February 14, 15 and 16; March 29 and 30; and April 3, 5, 7, 10, 11 and 13, 2017.
Standing trial alongside Mr Okey Nwosu are three former directors of the defunct Finbank – Dayo Famoroti, Danjuma Ocholi and Agnes Ebubedike.
The defendants were arraigned in 2013 before Justice Lateefa Okunnu, but the Court of Appeal on November 21, 2013 quashed the charges pressed against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and set them free.
The EFCC, however, appealed to the Supreme Court, and in 2016 the court upheld the appeal and ordered Mr Nwosu and the others to return to the High Court for their trial.