9th November, 2010
The absence of Justice Ishaq Bello of the FCT High Court on Tuesday stalled theÂ ongoing N2.3 billion corruption trial of former National Chairman of the PDP,Â Vincent Ogbulafor.
The EFCC slammed the N2.3 billion charge against Ogbulafor while he was the nationalÂ chairman of PDP.
No reason was given for the judge’s absence on Tuesday’s proceedings as the courtÂ was besieged by members of the public, journalists and lawyers waiting for the caseÂ to commence.
Bello had fixed Nov. 9, Nov. 10 and Nov. 11 for an accelerated hearing of the case.
It would be recalled that Bello had also ruled that Ogbulafor had a case to answerÂ after his lawyer, Mr Amaechi Nwaiwu (SAN), asked the court to quash the chargesÂ preferred against him by the ICPC.
Ogbulafor had asked the court to quash the charges on the grounds that there was noÂ evidence linking him to the alleged offence.
But Bello held that after analysing the proof of evidence before him that he was ofÂ the opinion that the prosecution made sufficient evidence to establish a prima facieÂ case against him.
Ogbulafor was in June arraigned by the ICPC on an amended 17-count charge alongsideÂ Emeka Ebilah and Jude Nwokoro.
They were alleged to have conspired to commit the offence using their offices asÂ Minister of Special Duties, Secretary, National Intelligence Committee (NEIC) andÂ Director Budget Implementation, Federal Ministry of Finance, respectively.
They were alleged to have awarded contracts worth N2.3 billion to some fictitiousÂ companies and verifying same as purportedly executed on behalf of the FederalÂ Republic of Nigeria in 2001.
Nwaiwu in an interview told NAN that the case had been fixed for Dec. 6 for hearing
“We were called by the court clerk and asked to pick a new date as My Lord will notÂ be available,” he said.