INEC Boss’ Contempt Trial: Court Adjourns Indefinitely

A Federal High Court in Abuja, Thursday, adjourned indefinitely the trial of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Yakubu Mahmood in the contempt charge brought against him.
At resumed proceedings Thursday, Justice Stephen Pam adjourned the trial to a date that will be communicated to parties in the suit by the authorities of the Federal High Court.
Although, the INEC Chief was ordered to appear in court personally to show cause why he should not be committed to prison for violating the court order, he was however represented by a legal practitioner, Samuel Omale in court.
Omale informed the court that the ruling of the Court of Appeal which stayed the execution of the bench warrant issued against Mahmood was ready for service on parties.
He subsequently served the appellate court ruling on Emmanuel Okoye, who stood for the applicants in the contempt matter.
In a short ruling, Justice Pam adjourned the trial pending the hearing of the appeal slated for September 17 at the appellate court.
“In view of the Court of Appeal’s order to stay proceedings, this matter is adjourned to a date to be communicated to both parties, pending the outcome of the appeal,” the court held.
However, counsel to the applicants requested a specific date for the hearing of the matter, arguing that section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), does not allow a stay of proceedings in a criminal matter.
Justice Pam subsequently adjourned the matter and informed the parties that a date for continuation of the trial shall be communicated to them, when the court resumes from its annual vacation in September.
Justice Pam had on August 1, issued a bench warrant against the INEC Chief, following his failure to appear before the court on three occasions to defend himself in the contempt charge brought against him by Ejike Oguebego and Chuks Okoye, Chairman and Legal Adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Anambra State respectively.
Based on the first order, the Inspector General of Police was suppose to arrest and produce Yakubu in court on August 8, however, the INEC Chairman was not in court on the said date, forcing the court to adjourn to August 14 with the court again affirming its earlier order of August 1.

Author: News Editor

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