A Lagos State High Court today in Ikeja refused to vacate the trial dates of a former managing director of Intercontinental Bank plc (now Access Bank), Dr Erastus Akingbola and his associate, Mr. Bayo Dada, as requested by their defence counsel.
At the resumed hearing of the case this morning, Deji Sasegbon, for both men, prayed the court presided over by Justice Habeeb Abiru to vacate the six days the court had earlier picked for the continuation of their trial in the suit, which was filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Sasegbon had on June 26, 2012, asked the court for an adjournment to enable the defence present another witness before it. Despite opposition from the prosecution counsel, Emmanuel Ukala, the judge granted the request and urged the defence counsel to choose dates in September. Sasegbon however proposed some dates in July, and the court agreed. On the strength of this, July 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 18th and 19th were fixed for the continuation of trial.
At the resumption of the trial today, however, one Abubakar Shamsudeen, a lawyer in the defence team, came with a new request praying the court to vacate the previously set dates, attributing Sasegbon’s absence to some “medical challenges.”
Shamsudeen said a letter had been written to the judge by a counsel in the defence team stating the reasons. He said though the lead counsel had asked him to appear for the defence, he too would need time to prepare the witness. He asked the court to vacate the fixed adjourned dates for a later date, in order to offer them time to prepare the witnesses.
Justice Abiru turned down the request, recalling that he asked the defence counsel to pick dates in September but they opted for July. He said no medical report was given to the court concerning any medical issues being faced by the lead defence counsel, and warned that any letter written to the court by the defence counsel regarding the case should henceforth be addressed to the court Registrar and not to him.
He ruled that the defence should continue their defence and adjourned to Wednesday, July 11, 2012.