Again, court suspends Oduah’s arraignment for alleged N7.9 billion fraud

• Adjourns case to July 17

Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja has again suspended the planned arraignment of a former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah and others for alleged N7.9 billion fraud, citing security reasons.

According to the judge, the court would not continue with the trial until it is certain and satisfied that the safety of all parties is guaranteed.

At the last adjourned date, Justice Ekwo had complained about receiving private messages regarding the case from persons, whose identities he did not disclose, while warning them to desist from intruding into his privacy.

At yesterday’s proceedings, the presiding judge expressed his anger over the prosecution’s failure to fish out the culprits.

“I want you to find out who that character is, arrest him and bring him to court on the next date. I am not going to go on with this trial until I am certain and satisfied that the security and safety of all the persons involved in the trial is assured,” he said.

Ekwo produced a publication wherein his life was threatened over his involvement in the trial.

He urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to produce the offenders, even as he ordered the court’s Deputy Chief Registrar to liaise with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in unravelling identities of promoters of the offending publication.

Before the case was adjourned, counsel to the seventh defendant intimated the court of a letter, wherein he informed it that his client, Crystal Television, had entered into a plea bargain with the anti-graft and paid N100, 000, 000 as part-payment for compounding the offence contained in the charge.

Consequently, the judge adjourned the matter to July 17 for the CAC to report owners of the organisation and the EFCC to fish out the culprits.

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