N1bn GIFMIS Scam: Defence Stalls Trial
BEVERLY HILLS, June 09, (THEWILL) – The trial of two officials from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation implicated in the Economic Reforms and Governance Project contract fraud, Dogonyaro Audu (aka Abdullahi Dogonyaro Mohammed) and Yahaya Ayodeji, was stalled Tuesday in Abuja due to the unpreparedness of their counsel, Abubakar Sadiq Oderiku, forcing the trial judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Jabi to adjourn the trial to June 25, 2015.
Justice Halilu however ruled on the bail application of the accused persons who had been in prison custody since they were arraigned on May 26. The court had refused an oral application by their counsel, insisting that the application be formalized.
At the resumed hearing Tuesday, the court admitted the accused persons to bail on the following terms: Two sureties each of who must be a director in a Federal Government agency with evidence of his or her letter of last promotion. Secondly, the sureties are to deposit a documentary evidence of ownership of a property valued at N100, 000, 000. 00 (One Hundred Million Naira) located either in Garki or Wuse 2 district of the FCT, with the court.
After the ruling on bail application, prosecuting counsel, Cosmas Ugwu, informed the court that the matter was slated for commencement of trial and that he had his witnesses in court. However, counsel to the accused persons, Oderiku, sought for an adjournment on the grounds that he had not been able to confer with his clients in prison due to ill health.
Justice Halilu consequently adjourned the matter to June 25, 2015 for definite hearing.
The accused persons were arraigned on May 26 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a 10-count charge bordering on criminal conspiracy and complicity in award of contact. They allegedly abused their offices by floating companies through which they cornered contracts emanating from the Economic Reform and Governance Project, ERGP, GIFMIS, domiciled in the office of the Accountant General of the Federation.