Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has adjourned the trial of Murtala Nyako, a former Adamawa State governor, to October 26, 2017.
Nyako is being prosecuted along with his son, Senator Abdul-Aziz Nyako, Abubakar Aliyu and Zulkifikk Abba by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a 37-count charge of conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office and money laundering to the tune of N29 billion.
They are alleged to have used five companies – Blue Opal Limited, Sebore Farms & Extension Limited, Pagoda Fortunes Limited, Tower Assets Management Limited and Crust Energy Limited for the illegal diversion of the funds.
The prosecution, led by Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, was to present its 15th witness, on September 28, 2017. The witness, Augustina Wadamiya, Accountant General of Adamawa State was in court, but the proceedings could not proceed as expected.
The defence team, led by Yakubu C. Maikyau, SAN, had protested that the “witness was never listed as one of the witnesses before the court”.
Jacobs, while citing Section 245 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, and Sections 218 and 219 of the Evidence Act, argued that “a subpoenaed witness is a witness of the law, who is merely invited to the court to produce document and give evidence”.
“A subpoenaed witness has custody of his or her documents and it is just to tender the documents,” he added.
Maikyau, however, argued that “the prosecution ought to provide us with materials which they intend to put before the court inclusive of the documents and statements of the witness taken by the EFCC.
“My constraint is that I need to know what the witness is coming to say or testify to, as her statement has not been forwarded to the defence,” he said.
Justice Abang, after listening to the arguments, instructed the prosecution to “serve on the defence, copies of the documents the subpoenaed witness is to tender, inclusive of her statement to EFCC”.
“This is in compliance with Section 36(6) (b) of 1999 Constitution which states that every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be entitled to adequate time to prepare for its defence,” the trial judge held.