An Ogun State High Court sitting in Isabo, Abeokuta, on Friday halted the trial of former governor of the state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel.
Daniel is facing charges of corruption, stealing and conversion of public property preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
In his ruling on an application brought by the former governor, Justice Olanrewaju Mabekoje granted Daniel’s prayer for a stay of proceedings pending the determination of his appeal at the Appeal Court, Ibadan.
Daniel had, through his lead counsel, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan, informed the court that he had filed an application at the Ibadan Division of the Court of Appeal against the ruling of the lower court on his prayers for quashing counts 1 to 13 of the 38 counts preferred against him by the anti-graft agency.
Osipitan told the court that he had received the hearing notice of the motion he filed at the appeal court.
“When we were here last week, we did inform the court that we have filed a motion at the appeal court, praying for the quashing of counts 1 to 13 and your lordship directed us to bring the document which we have done today,” he said.
He further informed the court that hearing on the application had been fixed for April 11, 2013.
EFCC counsel, Adebisi Adeniyi said that although he had received an application for stay of proceedings, the application was incompetent.
Adeniyi argued that the application ran contrary to Section 40 of the EFCC Act (2004) and cited Adeyinka Ajiboye vs. FGN in appeal number CA/IL/C.21/2012.
“We urge your lordship to discountenance the application and rule that this is contrary to section 40 of the EFCC Act,” he said.
Justice Mabekoje, however, granted Daniel’s application for adjournment, stressing that the application before him was that of an adjournment and not of a stay of proceedings as against Adeniyi’s submission.
Mabekoje admitted that although both had the same effect, the principles governing them were different.
He submitted that where an applicant was able to show a good cause, his application for adjournment could be granted.