Justice Salisu Seidu of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, has adjourned the N3.6 billion fraud trial involving a former Executive Director on Projects, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Tuoyo Omatsuli and Francis Momoh to February 11, 2019.
The defendants, who were charged along with their companies, Don Parker Properties Limited and Building Associates Limited respectively, were arraigned on November 10, 2018 on a 45-count charge bordering on conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of N3,645,000,000 (Three Billion, Six Hundred and Forty-Five Million Naira) only.
The defendants pleaded “not guilty” to the charges preferred against them and were subsequently granted bail on November 16, 2018 in the sum of N100 million each with two sureties in like sum. The sureties being resident in Lagos, and one of them must be a civil servant and a blood relation of the defendants, who must have a landed property in Lagos with the Certificate of Occupancy. The other surety must be a Deputy Director in any Ministry in Lagos.
The defendants were also ordered to submit their international passports to the court’s registrar.
Consequently, Justice Seidu adjourned to January 8, 2019 for “commencement of trial”.
However, at today’s proceedings, the second defendant, Momoh, who appeared in court with the first defendant, could not walk without the aid of crutches.
His lawyer, Norrison Quakers, SAN, told the court that his client had not enjoyed adequate medical attention because he had been in prison with the first defendant since they were admitted to bail on November 16, 2018.
Quakers further told the court that his client’s health had deteriorated in prison custody and that he needed urgent medical attention.
“My Lord, due to the state of health of my client, we are unable to proceed.
“In view of this, I ask that today and tomorrow be vacated to enable him to seek an urgent medical attention,” he pleaded.
Counsel to the first defendant, Atunda Kayode, SAN, also aligned with the prayer of the counsel to the second defendant.
The prosecution counsel, Ekene Iheanacho, however, opposed the prayers of the defence.
He told the court that the defendants were granted bail, adding that the deterioration in the condition of the second defendant was due to his failure to perfect his bail conditions.
“The defendant has an injury in his legs and not his ears; so, this should not stall the proceedings,” he argued.
After listening to both parties, Justice Seidu held that the second defendant could not stand trial due to his health challenge.
The Judge further directed counsel to the second defendant to ensure the perfection of his bail conditions.