Alleged N2.5bn Fraud: Produce NBC Boss in Court, Judge tells Counsel

Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday advised a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Abdullahi Mustapha, to produce the Director General of National Broadcasting Commission, Ishaq Kawu Modibbo, on the next adjourned date. 

Justice Ogunbanjo-Giwa gave the advice following the absence of Modibbo in court to answer charges leveled against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission. 

Addressing the court after counsel had announced their appearance, Mustapha said Modibbo was not present in court to take plea based on health ground. 

He said, “My lord, let me apologize for the absence of the 1st defendant in court. He is on admission.

“He had a major surgery 10 years ago, and is ill. 

“I have a medical report from the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital to confirm that he is currently ill, and I shall be filing it before the court registry” Mustapha told the court. 

Consequently, “On account of health, I seek for an adjournment pending when he (Modibbo) will be well enough to attend trial” Mustapha pleaded. 

Meanwhile, the prosecuting counsel, Henry Emore did not oppose the oral application for an adjournment, but however posited that it should be on record that they have taken one adjournment out of 5, as stipulated by the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 in criminal cases. 

On his part, Alex Izinyon, SAN, who announced appearance for the 2nd and 3rd defendants did not raise objection to Mustapha’s application for an adjournment because according to him, “It is only the living that praises God; and only the living can face trial”.

However, Izinyon pointed out that the statement of Emore on adjournment was not applicable to the other defendants, which the court affirmed.

Before granting an adjournment, Justice Ogunbanjo-Giwa said she would not bend backwards again to grant an adjournment exceeding two weeks based on the provision of section 396 of Administation of Criminal Justice Act 2015.

The judge also directed the prosecution counsel to verify the authenticity of the medical report filed by Modibbo’s counsel and file a report on it to the court. 

Meanwhile, the court has adjourned to April 17 for the defendants to take plea, and May 2, 3, 8 and 9 for commencement of trial. 

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