N1.4bn oil subsidy fraud: Defence counsel stalls trial of Abubakar Ali Peters
The trial of Abubakar Ali Peters and his company, Nadabo Energy Limited, over an alleged N1.4bn oil fraud, could not continue today, Tuesday, September 21, 2021 before Justice S.S. Ogunsanya of the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja due to the absence of the defence counsel.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is prosecuting Peters and his company on a 21-count charge bordering on obtaining money under false pretence, diversion of Federal Government funds and forgery.
The trial, which began in October 2015, was slated to continue today, with the executive chairman of the EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, in court to continue with his testimony as the second prosecution witness.
However, the defendant, who was present in court, informed the court that he had been unable to reach his lawyer on the phone.
He said: “My Lord, my lawyer is flying in from Kaduna to Lagos for the case, and must have been airborne.”
Prosecuting counsel, S.K. Atteh, however, called the attention of the Court to the fact that the case had suffered several adjournments at the instance of the defence, and “the chairman came all the way from Abuja leaving his enormous responsibilities to continue with his examination-in-chief.”
The case was briefly stood down to allow time for the lawyer to be present in court.
However, when the matter was later called, Peters informed the Court that he was still unable to reach his lawyer on the phone, adding that “I called the principal and he said he would get back to me. But he is yet to do so.”
Subsequently, Justice Ogunsanya adjourned to September 22, 2021 for the continuation of the trial.