A Federal High Court in Abuja adjourned the trial of former Chief of Defense Staff Alex Badeh to Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) called its first witness on Monday, but could not continue the proceeding due to the production of new evidence served on Mr. Badeh and the second defendant, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited.
According the EFCC, the new proof of evidence consisted of an additional statement made by Mr. Badeh to the commission in addition to statements made by one of the EFCC’s operatives and two prosecution witnesses.
The prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, invited his first prosecution witness to the stand, but defense counsel Akin Olujinmi requested that the court adjourn the trial in order to give him adequate time to examine the new evidence, which was only served to Mr. Badeh on Friday.
Similarly, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited’s defense counsel, S.T. Ologunorisa urged the court to adjourn, as he was only served the proof of evidence on Monday.
“To commence trial this morning will be an infringement on our constitutional right to be given adequate time and facility to prepare for the defense. I urge your lordship to err on the side of the accused persons,” said Mr. Ologunorisa.
Mr. Jacobs opposed the adjournment application, saying, “Section 396 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act says upon arraignment, trial shall proceed from day to day.”
The court granted the adjournment to the defendants, saying, “The justice of the case is to give the defense ample time to study the additional proof of evidence.”
It will be recalled that the EFCC is prosecuting Mr. Badeh on 10 counts of money laundering, involving the diversion of roughly N3.97bn from the Nigerian Air Force.