The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has asked the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, to order Justice Binta Nyako to stay off all EFCC cases henceforth.
The EFCC said in a statement by its acting Spokesman, Tony Orilade, that the judge, who is the wife of former Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, could not be trusted with EFCC cases since the anti-graft agency is currently prosecuting her husband.
Recall that EFCC Prosecuting Counsel, Onjefu Obe, had told the court on November 21, 2018, during the trial of four alleged oil thieves that the concern of the commission to reassign all EFCC cases before Justice Nyako, borders on likely bias on part of the trial judge.
The defendants: Umar Audu Bida, Truth Igogori, Ifenyinwa Nwankwesiri and Ogechukwu Obaji were accused of oil fraud to the tune of $1m.
The EFCC had in 2017 arraigned the defendants before Justice Nyako on nine charges bordering on conspiracy, forgery and obtaining by false pretences to the tune of $1m.
They allegedly defrauded Donald Latella of North Park LLC of the said sum in a business deal involving the supply of about two million barrels of Bonny Light Crude Oil.
The offence contravenes Section 8 (b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.
They were arraigned alongside four companies: Universal Contractors, Lambda Energy Services Limited, Double Wonder Concept Limited, and ICS Energy Services Limited.
They had pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.
According to Obe, he had come to court fully prepared with the prosecution witnesses to proceed with the case. But very, unfortunately, the case (FHC/ABJ/C12/ 266/16), was not listed in the court’s schedule for today as it is yet to be reassigned to another court.”
Counsel for the second defendant, Solomon Agada, also lamented that his client usually travels from Lagos to Abuja for the case. He, therefore, urged the court to intervene and called for the speedy reassignment of the case in order for the case to proceed.
Both counsel, however, agreed to await the reassignment of the case and thereafter mutually agree on the next possible adjournment.