N1.162bn Fraud: Judge Adjourns Dariye’s Case to Oct 10

Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT High Court, Gudu, has fixed October 10, 2017 for further proceedings in trial of Joshua Dariye, a former Plateau State governor, who is facing a N1.162 billion fraud charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The matter could not go on at the last day of sitting, June 19, 2017 as Dariye had at the time not got himself a new counsel, prompting the judge to adjourn to September 18.

At the resumed sitting, Dariye, eventually brought a new counsel, Kanu Agabi, SAN, to court, to continue his defence, after dragging the case for more than three months, during which he said he was still searching for a new counsel. It will be recalled that his former counsel, G.S. Pwul, SAN, who began his defence on January 25, 2016 when the case resumed, withdrew in March this year.

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While pleading for some time, Agabi, a former Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, told the court that he “only a few days ago” got a brief from Dariye, and was in spite of the tightness, compelled to honour the court with his presence.

“I beg you on my knees, please, my lord, grant us one adjournment to know about the case,” Agabi pleaded.

Prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, however, reminded the court that “we have been on this issue of getting a new counsel since March when he asked to get a new lawyer and the court had to adjourn four times.”

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“Your lordship at the last sitting also insisted that he should get a new counsel before today, make sure he briefed the counsel on time, so that the case will continue,” Jacobs stressed.

Jacobs further added that: “I will not oppose the request for adjournment, but urge the court to put on notice that Dariye has so far called 16 witnesses, and refused to close his case”.

Agabi, while further requesting for time, jokingly described Jacobs, who served as a special adviser to him while serving as AGF, as “a man born with a fighting spirit”, noting that “I have prayed that the Lord grant him a heart of flesh”, causing the court to erupt in rapturous laughter.

Jacobs, however, used the opportunity to intimate the court, that in fact, at the time investigations were going on in the matter involving Dariye, it was Agabi, as AGF, who wrote to the United Kingdom, requesting for assistance in probing money laundering allegations against him.

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Agabi responded that: “As my then Special Adviser, he remembers many things that I cannot remember.”

Justice Banjoko, however, emphasized the importance of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA 2015 and ruled out Agabi’s request for “a long adjournment”, stressing that, “I’m going to sign on your honour and grant one more adjournment for the last time”, noting that “there has to be a sense of responsibility which I believe you will bring to bear”, and “the trial will continue on a day-to-day basis”.

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