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Absence of EFCC, Witness Stalls Trial of Mba, Others


Absence of the prosecution counsel and witness in court on Monday stalled the trial of former Director General of Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Emeka Mba and three others over alleged N2.9bn fraud in the award of set of boxes for digital switch.
The csse could not go ahead as the prosecuting agency, the EFCC and a prosecution witness in the case did not showed up in court.
When the case called Monday at a Federal High Court, Abuja, Paul Irokoro (SAN), counsel to the second defendant, told the court that he saw the prosecution witness in Lagos over the weekend, who said he was there for another assignment and would likely not to be in court on Monday.
He said based on that fact, he was of the opinion that the case would likely suffer adjournment.
Justice Kolawole said in view of the observation made by Irokoro and for the fact that prosecution counsel and witness were absent in court, the case was adjourned till March 21, 27 and 29 for continuation of the trial.
Mba was arraigned alongside the Director of Finance and Accounts at the NBC, Patrick Areh, and two business men, Basil Udotai and Babatunji Akure, who were allegedly used to launder funds.
The four defendants were charged on amended 15-count of conspiracy and money laundering, which they pleaded not guilty.
The EFCC had alleged that Mba and Areh used their positions at the NBC to corruptly enrich themselves by illegally diverting funds into Zenith Bank Plc accounts of companies operated by the 3rd and 4th defendants.
It said the funds were subsequently wired back to the duo via bank accounts belonging to Bureau-de-change operators.
Mba was further alleged to had on or about August 31, 2015, awarded to 13 companies, contract for the supply of set boxes in the sum of N1.2bn for digital switch over for the NBC, without securing approval from the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPE), contrary to section 40 of the Public Procurement Act No. 65 and punishable under section 58 or same Act.

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