Court adjourns trial over ex-JAMB Registrar, Ojerinde’s bid to change lawyer

The Federal High Court, Abuja on Wednesday adjourned the trial of former Registrar, Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Dibu Ojerinde until Oct.

8.Justice Obiora Egwuatu fixed the date, following Ojerinde’s decision to change his counsel.The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that prior to his decision, Peter Olorunnisola, SAN, had been appearing for the ex-JAMB boss in the money laundering charge preferred against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).NAN reports that the ICPC,  in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/97/21, said that the former chief executive officer allegedly committed multiple frauds, while heading JAMB and the National Examination Council (NECO). 

Justice Egwuatu had, on July 8, admitted Ojerinde to a bail in the sum of N200 million with two sureties.Egwuatu, who granted Ojerinde’s prayer after taking the arguments of counsel to the parties in the matter, said one of the sureties must be a professor in a federal university.He ruled that the professor must provide documented evidence of professorship, letter of appointment and staff identity card.

He also said that the other surety must own a landed property in Abuja worth the bail sum and must be verified by the court registrar, among others.However, when the matter was called for commencement, Itieubong Usoro, who held brief for Olorunnisola, notified the court of the decision of Ojerinde to disengage the present chamber from his matter.Usoro hinted that Ojerinde and Olorunnisola were yet to harmonise on some issues, particularly about professional fees in order for the former lawyer to formally withdraw from the matter.

He, then, sought for an adjournment to enable the issues be resolvedThe ICPC lawyer, Ebenezer Shogunle, said though the defendant was entitled to seek for an adjournment, this should not be used to delay the trial.“In the last adjourned date, the prosecution was in court with three witnesses and trial was adjourned at the instance of the defendant who complained of ill-health.“

As my lord is mindful to adjourn this matter to enable the defendant resolve any matter he has with his counsel, we want the court to take cognisance of Section 396 of ACJA (Administration of Criminal Justice Act) which allows for day-to-day trial,” he said.The judge, who adjourned the matter until Oct. 8 for commencement of trial, ordered the prosecution to come to court with its witnesses.(NAN)