Court Throws Out Dariye’s Motion Seeking Judge to Disqualify Self

A Federal Capital Territory High Court, Gudu, Abuja, on Monday, once again threw out the motion by former Plateau State Governor, Joshua Dariye, aseeking Justice Adebukola Banjoko to disqualify himself from the trial of the N1.6bn fraud charge preferred against him (Dariye) by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Dariye is facing a 23-count charge for allegedly diverting the state’s Ecological Fund to private companies including Ebenezer Retnan Ventures and Pinnacle Communications Limited.
Dariye, who is now a Senator, had in January lost in a similar bid, having applied to Justice U.I. Bello, the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court, accusing the trial judge of “manifest and undisguised bias”, and seeking for the case file to be transferred to another judge.
The Chief Judge threw out the application and ordered Dariye to go and continue with his trial before the Judge as his allegation of bias was “baseless”.
At the time Dariye sent his letter to the Chief Judge, dated December 13, 2016 his defence counsel, G.S. Pwul, also brought two motions to the court, one of which was asking the trial Judge to “disqualify” his lordship from the case.
He had also applied to the court, seeking for the recall of two principal witnesses, Musa Sunday, an EFCC operative who was cross-examined by both the prosecution and defence on January 25, 2016 and Peter Clark, a retired detective constable with the United Kingdom, UK Metropolitan Police, who was cross-examined by both counsel on May 9, 2016.
At the last sitting on March 2, 2017, Mr. Pwul, while arguing the applications, contended that it was necessary to recall the witnesses “in relation to new evidence”.
Citing exhibits D6 – D34 as the reasons for the recall, he further argued that there was need to further cross-examine Sunday as regards transactions between the Plateau State government and Pinnacle Communications Limited.
He had also urged the court to summon Clark “in relation to his evidence and investigation activities carried out in the United Kingdom and to confront him with new evidence”.

Author: News Editor

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