The trial of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Dele Belgore and a former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, for allegedly laundering the sum of N500million before Justice Mohammed Aikawa of a Federal High Court in Lagos was on Thursday stalled owing to the absence of an EFCC witness.
On resumption of proceedings, EFCC’s lawyer, E. Anana, informed the court that the witness, who is coming from Ekiti State, was not yet available. He then asked for a stand down of the matter until the time the witness would arrive.
Anana’s request was, however, opposed to by the two defence lawyers, Ebun Shofunde (SAN) and O. Ayanlaja (SAN).
They were of the view that it will be improper for the court to be waiting for a witness who is on his way from Ekiti.
Justice Aikawa while adjourning the matter to March 13 and 14 for definite trial advised the EFCC to show more seriousness in prosecuting the matter.
“I am of the view that the prosecution should show more seriousness in the prosecution of this matter. The witness who is to testify today should have been in Lagos since yesterday so that the case can be disposed of as soon as possible.
“I am inclined to adjourn this matter. I hereby adjourn the matter to March 13 and 14 for definite trial,” the judge said.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on February 8 arraigned Belgore, a former governorship candidate in Kwara State, and Prof. Sulaiman before the court on a five-count charge of laundering the sum of N500million.
They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them and were both granted bail on self-recognizance by the judge.