Absence of defendant stalls trial of FIRS Director, others

Federal High Court Abuja

Federal High Court Abuja

The trial of Peter Hena, former Coordinating Director of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, and eight other officers of the Agency before Justice Toyin Bolaji Adegoke of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, could not go on today as scheduled.

Though seven of the defendants, Mohammed Bello Auta (Director of Finance), Amina Sidi (Finance and Account department), Umar Aliyu Aduka (Internal Audit), Mbura Mustapha (Deputy Manager), Obi Okeke Malachy (Services Group), Obaje Napoleon Adofu (Head of Budget), and Benjamin Jiya (Assistant Director, were present in court, the case could not proceed owing to the absence of the eighth defendant, Udo-Inyang Effiong Alfred (Officer II)

Counsel to the 8th defendant, Emmanuel Adedeji informed the court that his client fell sick overnight and had to be rushed to the hospital.

“My lord, I got a call from the wife of the 8th defendant last night that he fell sick and was rushed to the hospital immediately. My client has a history of heart disease that is why he could not appear in court today. It was beyond our control as he has never missed any day in court,” Adedeji said.

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Prosecuting counsel, Ekele Iheanacho however expressed displeasure over the defence’s numerous excuses and threatened to apply for the revocation of the bail of the defendant as no material evidence was placed before the court to buttress his claim of ill health.

“My lord, it has become a normal pattern that any day this matter comes up, there must be a reason for adjournment.

“We are not happy coming to court without making progress. Moreover there is no material evidence brought to this court to show that the 8th defendant is actually sick with a heart disease; so, I will be applying for revocation of bail of the 8th defendant”, he said.

Justice Adegoke after listening counsel, excused the 8th defendant on the ground that it was his first time absenting from court on the grounds of health and adjourned till May 12 and 17, 2022, for definite hearing.

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