Alleged N570m fraud: Judge’s absence stalls ex-HoSF Oyo-Ita’s trial

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THE scheduled commencement of trial in the alleged money laundering case involving the immediate past Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoSF), Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, was stalled on Tuesday due to the absence of the judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

 

Oyo-Ita is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with her Special Assistant, Ubong Effiok, Frontline Ace Global Services Limited, Asanaya Projects Limited, Garba Umar, Slopes International Limited, Gooddeal Investments Limited, U & U Global Services Limited and Prince Mega Logistics Limited.

The defendants are accused, among others, of engaging in fraud in relation to Duty Tour Allowance (DTA), estacode, conference fees and receiving kickbacks on contracts.

On July 8, 2020, when the case last came up, even though prosecution’s lawyer Mohammed Abubakar said he had two witnesses in court and was ready to proceed, Justice Taiwo said the court was not ready to proceed with the case because its stenographer was not available.

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The judge said he was not comfortable recording proceedings with his hand and would prefer the presence of the stenographer.

He held that since the case did not fall in the categories of those to be given special attention during the COVID-19 crisis, he would adjourn it till a later date.

On the agreement of lawyers in the case, Justice Taiwo adjourned till Tuesday.

When parties got to court yesterday, an official of the court announced that the court would not sit because the judge was unavailable.

The case was adjourned till December 1.

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