bsence of former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe, stalled his arraignment for alleged involvement in the diversion of about N2.3 billion public funds yesterday.
Orubebe, Oludare Lawrence Alaba (an assistant director in the ministry), Ephraim Tewolde Zeri (director of contracts in Gitto Costruzioni Generali Nigeria Limited) and the company, are listed in the six-count charge marked CR/265/2016, filed by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC.
They are accused of diverting the N2.3 billion meant for the compensation of property owners who would be affected by the federal government’s dualization project of Section IV of the East West Road.
This is the second time Orubebe and others’ arraignment would be shifted to a later date.
They were initially scheduled to be arraigned before Justice Olukayode Adeniyi of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, on August 18.
It was shifted to August 30 when prosecution lawyer, Osuobeni Akponimisingha told the court that the ICPC was yet to effect service of the charge on all defendants.
Akponimisingha told the court again yesterday that two of the defendants – Alaba and Zeri – were in court.
He noted that Orubebe was not in court despite the fact that he had been properly served with the necessary court documents.
Orubebe’s lawyer, F. Zimuan told the court that his client was absent in court because he was indisposed.
“His (Orubebe) absence is not deliberate. He suddenly took ill; he had domestic accident which affected his ankle and wrist,” Zimuan said, adding that the development had cumulative effect on his hypertensive client who had since been rushed to the hospital.

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