The Chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar, has threatened to strike out the case brought against former Minister of Niger-Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe by the Federal Government.
Danladi gave the warning yesterday following the prosecution’s failure to open trial in the case.
Orubebe was arraigned on a four-count charge before the Tribunal on November 9, 2015 over alleged false declaration of assets and acceptance of N70million bribe from a contractor.
The prosecution, led by Peter Danladi of the Code of Conduct Bureau had at the commencement of trial of the former minister, sought an adjournment for two weeks to enable it prepare its witnesses for trial.
The tribunal granted the prosecution’s prayer and adjourned to November 26 for the prosecution to open trial only for Mr. Danladi to again plead for an amendment to the charges brought against Mr. Orubebe on the adjourned date.
According to him, the prosecution intended to amend counts two, three and four, a request counsel to Mr. Orubebe, Selekowei Larry (SAN), opposed.
At Wednesday’s proceedings, a new prosecution lawyer, E.A. Orji, who said he was from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), sought a further adjournment to enable him prepare for trial.
Orji acknowledged that while the case was slated for hearing, the original case file was transferred from the CCB to the Department of Public Prosecution of the Federation (DPPF) in the office of the Minister of Justice and AGF.
“I got to know of this development this morning. In the circumstance, we shall be asking for a date. We are looking at between three to four weeks adjournment to enable us study the case file and proceed with this matter with dispatch.
“It is not our practice to delay trial. I have, before the court’s sitting, informed the defence”, Orji said.
This request was again rejected by Larry.
“This matter commenced on November 9, 2015. After plea was taken, there was some argument as to the next step forward.
“The case was adjourned to November 26, 2015. On that day, the case could not go on because the prosecution hinted the court that it wanted to amend the charge”, he said.