Jide Omokore Co-defendant Challenges Court’s Jurisdiction to Try Him on Amended Charges

Abiyemembere Membere, an official of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), who is charged with Jide Omokore, Director of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited and others, has challenged the jurisdiction of a Federal High Court in Abuja to try him on amended charge.
Membere, Omokore are standing trial alongside Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited, Atlantic Energy Drilling Company Limited, Victor Briggs and David Mbanefo, on a nine-count amended charge of criminal diversion of about $1.6bn alleged to be proceeds of sale of petroleum products belonging to the Federal Government.
When the matter resumed Tuesday, the counsel representing Membere, the fifth defendant, told the court of his client’s decision to challenge the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the amended charge, adding the decision was based on the grounds that the prosecution filed additional proof of evidence, which would allow the prosecution call more evidence.
Membere’s counsel averred before the court that with a new proof of evidence being filed before it, there was a need for the defendant to approach the court for interpretation, as the prosecution has to prove the need for the additional proof ofevidence.
Prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs however sought the court for an adjournment to enable him file his written address in opposition to the application.
Trial Judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba adjourned hearing on the application challenging jurisdiction to June 22, 2017 and July 5, 2017 for ruling and possibly, continuation of trial.
Meanwhile, for the second time in the life of the trial, Omokore was granted leave to travel abroad for medical check up.
He had earlier in April been granted permission to travel abroad for same reason.
Jacobs had informed the court at the resumption of sitting Tuesday about the new application seeking for the permission.
He however did not object to it but said that it must be undertaken within the court’s long vacation due for July 10, 2017 to September 10, 2017.
Justice Dimgba in a short ruling granted the permission on the grounds that Omokore must sign an undertaking to embark on the trip between July 11, 2017 and September 10, 2017.

Author: News Editor

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