A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday rejected a new lawyer billed to represent the former Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, in N29 billion money laundering charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The new counsel, Okoi Efut, had on arrival in court, informed the court about the change in counsel from Chief Kanu Agabi SAN to himself and proceeded to apply for adjournment to enable him study the case files.
The announcement drew the anger of the lawyer to the Federal Government, Mr Rotimi Jacobs SAN, who claimed that the new development was a ploy to delay and frustrate the trial.
Jacobs appealed to the trial Judge, Justice Okon Abang to reject the ploy.
In a brief ruling, Justice Abang agreed with the prosecution’s objection and held the lead counsel to Nyako, Kanu Agabi SAN, has not given three days notice of his intentions to withdraw from the matter.
He added that the court will recognize Agabi, who has been absent from court twice consecutively, as the lead counsel for the defendants ordered that defendants must open their defense in the next adjourned date.
Justice Abang held that the first set of defendants having exhausted their rights for adjournment had not treated the court fairly.
The EFCC is prosecuting Nyako, his son, Senator Abdul-Aziz Nyako, and seven others on a 37-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N29 billion.
The court had severally adjourned the case at the instance of the defendants.
He further adjourned, at the instance of the defendants, to November 30 and to December 1 and 2 to enable the court attend to other matters and for the defense to open their case.