Court warns ICPC against ”delay tactics’ in ex-JAMB registrar’s trial
A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, warned the ICPC over the manner it was handling the prosecution of Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, former Registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB).
Justice Obiora Egwuatu gave the warning following the inability of the ICPC to produce Ojerinde in court 40 minutes after the case was called.
Ojerinde, who is being prosecuted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), is the sole defendant in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/97/21.
The ICPC said that the former chief executive officer allegedly committed multiple frauds while heading JAMB and the National Examination Council (NECO).
The court had, on July 6, rejected the defendant’s bail plea after taking his plea on the 18-count charge preferred against him by the anti-corruption commission bordering on abuse of office and fraud to the tune of N5 billion.
The rejection followed the argument of counsel to the prosecution, Ebenezer Shogunle, that his application for a “temporary bail” was unknown to the law.
The court then ordered the former JAMB registrar to be remanded in a correctional centre and the ICPC took him to the Suleja Prison.
But when the matter was called, Shogunle apologised to the court that the officers of the Suleja Correctional Centre were yet to bring the defendant down to the court due to the distance and the traffic congestion along the road.
He prayed the court to stand down the matter for about 30 minutes or an hour.
Counsel to Ojerinde, Peter Olorunnisola, did not oppose the request and the judge stood down the matter for other cases to be heard.
However, after other matters on the cause list had been presided on, Justice Egwuatu asked if Ojerinde had been produced in the court room but Shogunle gave a negative answer.
The judge, who was unhappy over the development, said: “I don’t take this. May be if you are not ready to prosecute the matter you should let us know. Court sits by 9am. Let this be the last time you will be doing this.”
The judge then rose and entered his chamber.(NAN)