An Igala Chief, George Kadiri, who stood surety for James Nolan, the Briton at the centre of the ongoing $9.6bn Process and Industrial Development Scam trial, has until March 7, 2023 to show cause why his N100,000,000 bail bond should not be forfeited to the Federal Government.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja handed out the order on Monday, February 6, 2023, after the surety for the umpteenth time failed to produce the second defendant in court.
Prosecuting counsel, Bala Sanga had earlier lamented the deliberate ploy by the defence to delay the trial, saying the Court has been magnanimous to the defence for over six months. He urged the court to ignore the defence`s prayer for more time to produce the defendant and order the forfeiture of the N100, 000.000 bail bond to the government.
“My lord, it is very clear that the defence cannot produce the second defendant. Enough time has been given; asking the court for more time amounts to taking the court for granted. The same story was told in September and today the story has not changed,” Sanga lamented.
In response, defence counsel, Michael Ajara again pleaded with the court for a short adjournment to give the surety the opportunity to make a written application and show cause regarding all the facts of the case, before taking any decision.
“My Lord, the second defendant was released to the Surety and all efforts to find the second defendant have proven abortive. We have since been working with all the relevant security agencies to know his whereabouts. All we are asking for is just a short date for the last time in the interest of justice, given this circumstance, to enable the surety to make an application on record regarding all the facts concerning this matter before the court can take a decision` Ajara pleaded.
The matter was adjourned to March 7, 2023.
In a related development, Justice D.U Okorowo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday, February 7 adjourned till April 18, for argument on the application by Kadiri who had earlier been ordered to show cause why he should not be committed to prison for failure to produce the defendant in another P&ID related case, Goidel Resources Ltd and two others.
When the case was called today, prosecution counsel, Geraldine Ofulue told the court that the matter was for the surety to show cause to why he has not been able to produce the defendant after two proceedings.
However, defence counsel, Nnena Okonkwo drew the attention of the court to an application which she has filed and served on the prosecution.
The prosecution requested an adjournment to study the application and respond. Should the defence fail to produce the defendant on the next adjourned date, the prosecution urged the court to proceed with the trial in absentia in line with Section 352, sub-section 4 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
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