Kanu Agabi Takes Over Lamido’s Money Laundering Trial

Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), Wednesday, pleaded with a Federal High Court, Abuja, for more time to study the casefile of former Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido, who is facing trial alongside two sons for alleged fraud and money laundering charges.
At the resumed hearing Wednesday, Chief Agabi announced his appearance for the defendants, taking over from Joe Agi, who had right from the onset acted as counsel to the Lamidos.
“I want to plead in the name of God for a short time because I am appearing before this court for the first time in this matter. I have been very busy just like you, I plead for a short adjournment to familiarise myself with the matter,” Agabi told the court.
Prosecution counsel, Chile Okoroma, did not object. However, he expressed reservation, adding witnesses had prior to Wednesday, been assembled and in court.
“We have assembled our witnesses and are ready to go on with the trial. It was when I came in this morning that my senior colleague told me of his appearance.
“I would have wished they consulted me earlier because our witnesses are already in court but as senior colleague and former Attorney-General of the Federation I cannot say no.”
The court consequently adjourned to November 15 and 16 for continuation of trial.
On July 7, 2017, the trial Judge, Justice Babatunde Quadri had refused an application by the former Governor to have his trial returned to the former trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola.
Rejecting Lamido’s request in a ruling, Justice Quadri held that it would better serve the interest of justice and public peace not to return the case to Justice Ademola.
Justice Ademola, his wife, Olubowale, and Lamido’s lead counsel, Joe Agi (SAN), were jointly prosecuted before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory by the Federal Government but were exonerated of all the 18 counts preferred against them on April 5, 2017.
The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, had re-assigned the case to Justice Quadri when Justice Ademola was on suspension as a result of the joint trial.
But following the judgment exonerating Justice Ademola, the judge’s wife, and Agi, of the charges preferred against them, the lawyer had requested the Chief Judge to return the case to Justice Ademola.
Agi had anchored his request to the Chief Judge on the grounds that it would be agonizing for his Lamido and the other defendants to be subjected to the trial afresh when the prosecution, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, had already called 18 witnesses before Justice Ademola’s court.
But the EFCC had opposed the request insisting that with the joint trial which Justice Ademola and Agi underwent, the judge would likely be biased if the case was returned to him (Justice Ademola).
However, the Chief Judge upon considering both Agi’s and EFCC’s counter-requests insisted that the case should remain in Justice Quadri’s court.
Despite the Chief Judge’s directive, Agi filed a motion on April 26, 2017, seeking Justice Quadri’s order directing the return of the case to Justice Ademola.
Lamido and his two sons, Aminu and Mustapha, and two others, were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in September 2015.
They were arraigned on a 27-count charge bordering on alleged abuse of office and money laundering.

Author: News Editor

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