AN FCT High Court yesterday adjourned the trial of Lawrence Pepple and Henry Ogbulue, aides to Kingsley Kuku, former adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta, till October 21. Justice Mamman Kolo adjourned the cases at the instance of the counsel to the defendants, Jay Jay Ezeuko. Pepple and Ogbulue were separately arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for criminal conspiracy and fraudulent acquisition of property while in office as public servants. Their offences contravened Section 26(1)(b) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, and punishable under Section 12 of the same Act. EFCC counsel, Farouk Abdullahi called Reuben Ajibade, a retired acting head of Administration in the Office of the Special Adviser to the former President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta. Ajibade told the court that Pepple was the technical assistant to Kuku and was employed to provide specialised advice on the amnesty issues. “When Pepple was engaged by the special adviser, letter of his appointments was issued to the defendant and I can identify the documents when shown to me. Abdullahi tended the documents and urged the court to admit the four documents as exhibits. However, counsel to the defendant, Ezeuko opposed the tendering of the documents, claiming that they were computer generated. According to him, it did not conform with Section 84 which requires a certificate to reproduce so that this court will make sure that the documents are not fictitious. “My submission finds relevance where the witness admitted that they do not have original copies of such documents in the office file,” he said, urging the court to reject the documents. In his response, Abdullahi argued that the documents were not those contemplated under the law, stressing that they were duly certified by an officer in the office of the special adviser to the former President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta. The judge admitted and marked the documents as exhibit A, B, C and D. In a related case, Ezeuko cross-examine Ajibade during the hearing of Ogbulue’s case. Ogbulue is also standing trial for the same offence. The witness also said that Ogbulue’s original appointment letter was not in the office file because the defendants were given the original. Ajibade said further that the original copy of the appointment letter was first shown to him by an EFCC officer, Chris Odofi, in the station. “I did not also have the defendant’s original copy of acceptance letter of appointment in the office file. I was the head of Administration Department but I cannot employ anyone at my own discretion,” he said.

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