By Innocent Anaba
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has stalled further hearing in the charge it filed against the Senator representing Delta North senatorial district, Peter Nwaoboshi, before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, as it declined to agree to Justice Mohammed Idris continuing with the case.
Trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, who was elevated to the Court of Appeal after the case had begun, had been ordered vie a fiat by Court of Appeal President, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, to conclude the case before resuming at the appellate court.
But at the resumed hearing in the matter last week, the EFCC opposed the fiat, following which Justice Idris took argument from parties.
Nwaoboshi had, through his lawyers, asked the court to continue with the matter, so that it could be dispensed with, alongside the other defendants, Golden Touch Construction Projects Limited and Suiming Electricals, who were arraigned on April 25 over alleged N322 million fraud charge.
Nwaoboshi through his lawyer, had expressed surprise that the EFCC, which always accused high profile defendants of adopting delay tactics to frustrate their trials, was the one opposing the Senator’s application for a speedy trial.
He said Section 396 (7) of the ACJA was enacted to cure delays that arise from judges’ elevation, adding that EFCC ought to champion its enforcement rather than reject the fiat granted Justice Idris.
But the EFCC, which had called two witnesses already in the case objected, forcing Justice Idris in a ruling to hold that the matter can only go one if parties agreed. After adjourning on three occasions for the EFCC to give a response on whether the matter should go on, as the judge and defence had espressed their readiness to continue, the anti-graft this week, told the court it was not ready to proceed.
Justice Idris had promised to hear the case on a daily basis until it was concluded, but the EFCC declined the offer but opted for the matter to start all over when though it had called two witnesses in the matter. The case will start afresh before nw judge.