The ongoing trial of former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission yesterday suffered yet another setback as witnesses filled by the anti-graft agency shunned the court.
This was after the team of Counsels to the anti-graft agency had earlier met three witnesses in a pre-trial meeting on Monday, it was gathered.
The presiding Judge, Justice Olanrewaju Mabekoje had, at the last sitting on Monday, directed the agency to bring all its witnesses to court.
The Judge expressed its displeasure at the prosecution for wasting his time on Monday by providing only one witness whose cross examination ended around 11pm.
One of the Counsels to Daniel, Tayo Oyetibo had jockingly advised EFCC to ‘hire’ witnesses in the event of not seeing their witnesses to prosecute the case.
Instructing the prosecution team led by Adebisi Adeniyi, the judge said he had to cancel his engagements in order to sit yesterday so that the case can go on smoothly.
Adeniyi, who was holding brief for the head of the team, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), had promised the court to bring three more witnesses to court yesterday.
But at the resumed hearing yesterday, Adeniyi expressed shock at why he couldn’t see any of the witnesses in court despite an earlier pre-trial conference on Monday evening.
Adeniyi pleaded with the court to give the team more time to investigate the circumstances surrounding the absence of the witnesses in court.
According to him, the sudden absence of the witnesses was personally painful despite extra efforts made the day before.
He however prayed the court to adjourn the case for it to put it’s house in order.
Lead Counsel to the former Governor, Professor Ayo Osipitan who didn’t opposed the application said his team will endure the attitude of the prosecution.
Osipitan, who reminded the court that the case has been on for the past five years said 33 witnesses ‘have been endured’.
The case was however adjourned till November 4 and 11 for continuation of trial.
The former Governor was on October 12, 2011 arraigned before justice Mabekoje on a 43 count charge for allegedly stealing and mismanaging about 7 billion during his tenure as Governor.
He was re-arraigned on April 16, 2012 on 38 count charge for allegedly stealing and mismanaging N211.3 million after the earlier case was dismissed by the Judge for the failure of EFCC to seek the leave of court to ammend the information before the court.