There was a mild drama in a Plateau High Court on Friday when a counsel, Mr J.O. Ogieva, withdrew his legal representation to a fake cleric, charged with alleged N28.9 million fraud case.
The EFCC charged Anu Ojo-Olakunori, is charged alongside a couple, Kunle Farinuola and his wife, Josephine and defrauded a housewife, Mrs Ladi Deborah-Alabi, of N28.9m between December 2016 and February 2018.
Ogieva, counsel to the first defendant, objected to the continuation of trial and told Justice Christine Dabup of High Court IV, that the case can not continue.
“My Lord, l am sorry to announce to this honorable Court that I am withdrawing my service and representation to the 1st defendant in this case.
“I have a motion on notice to that effect applying for my withdrawal in the case. If my fellow counsels in this matter wouldn’t mind I wish to move the motion right away,” Ogieva pleaded.
Responding, Mr Joshua Saidi, EFCC prosecution counsel opposed to the application which he described it as strange “more so that we are in the midst of taking testimony of the second prosecution witness, who is the direct victim of the scam.”
“She (victim) started giving us her testimony yesterday, Thursday, Nov. 14, and hope to conclude it today so that we can make progress but this application to us is very unnecessary at the material time.
“He can not withdraw from the case at this stage. We believe this application is just a ploy to delay the case.
”After all, we are entitled to time within which to reply his application served to us just now in court,” Saidi lamented.
The judge, Justice Dabup, then asked the defendant if the defence counsel told had briefed him and he answered, “yes my Lord, he earlier discussed it with me.”
At that stage, the court allowed Ogieva to move his application and the judge expressly granted.
She the asked the pastor, “now that your counsel has withdrawn his service and representation to you, what do you want the court to for you?”
In reply the pastor pleaded, “I want the court to give me more time to enable me get another lawyer that will represent me in this matter.”
Justice Dabup then adjourned the case until March 4 and March 5, 2020 for continuation of hearing.
The EFCC filed 16 count charge of conspiracy to commit felony to wit;obtaining money under false pretences and therefore committed offenses contrary to sections 8(a), 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related offenses Act, 2006 and punishable under section 1(3) of the same Act. (NAN)