Federal High Court, Ibadan division presided over by Justice Olayinka Faji could not commence hearing on the case instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, against five bank officials on Friday due to two applications filed by the counsel to the accused persons.
He therefore adjourned hearing of the applications till July 1.
The five bank officials namely, Kolawole Babalola, Muniru Olaniran Adeola, Toogun Kayode Philips, Ajuwon Bolade and Samuel Ogbeide in suit number FHC/IB/34c/15 were alleged of defrauding the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, over N8 billion, through the N1,000 mutilated notes meant to be destroyed between 2010 and 2014.
The trial judge had dismissed their bail applications, granted accelerated hearing for all the accused persons last week Friday, and adjourned hearing of the case.
But at the resumed hearing, counsel to the first accused Barrister Olayinka Bolanle said he had filed an application challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case.
Also, counsel to the second, third and fifth accused persons, Barrister Olalekan Ojo, said he had filed notice of appeal challenging the pronouncement of the judge in the bail applications for his clients declaring that the judge should disqualify himself from hearing the case.
Barrister Ojo noted, “My lord base on your pronouncement from pages 93 to 97 of the ruling on bail application where you said that ‘the second and third defendants seems deeply involved’ shows that you are already bias ,you had already convicted my clients before hearing their case by so doing you should seat over this case again.”
The counsel to the prosecution Barrister Rotimi Jacobs SAN said the Judge gave ruling on the bail applications since last week Friday and the counsel to the accused persons ought to have filed and serve any applications they intended to bring before the court before the fixed hearing date (yesterday).
Barrister Jacobs noted that what the trial judge had said in the ruling that ‘the second and third accused persons seems to have deeply involved ‘ does not mean that the judge is biased or has already convicted the accused persons.
The counsel to the fourth accused person, Barrister Dare Adebayo, told the court that he was ready to go on with the trial.
Justice Faji said in a criminal trial it is not the accused persons that is on trial but the presiding judge because lawyers, people in society will be making comments whether your pronouncement is involve or against. But we are use to it. It is the responsibility of the judge to give all the parties fear hearing.
He later adjourned hearing of the two applications to July 1.
He directed the accused counsel to file other necessary applications they deem important before the next adjourned date.

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