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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dimeji Bankole’s Trial Stalled, As Judge Is Suddenly Transferred

The trial of the former Speaker of the House of Representative, Dimeji Bankole for alleged fraud was stalled on Monday following the sudden transfer of the Judge, Donatus Okorowa, who was handling the case.
Mr. Okorowa was shockingly transferred to another Federal High Court in Taraba State on Monday.
Mr. Bankole, who is currently standing trial on a 16 criminal count charge of contract inflation and fraudulent embezzlement of public funds, was scheduled to be tried for four days: from September 24 to 27.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, which is prosecuting Mr. Bankole, has already condemned the sudden transfer of the judge. The commission’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said such incidents are part of the problems the agency faces on corruption trial. He said that was why the agency kept calling for a special court for the trial of corruption cases. The EFCC counsel, Festus Keyamo, said he is waiting to hear from the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Ibrahim Auta, if Mr. Okorowa will be coming from Taraba to preside over the trial or if the case will be assigned to another judge.

Mr. Bankole had on June 13 and July 26 filed two separate motions seeking the court to invalidate the charges laid against him by the EFCC, saying that proof of evidence did not attribute any shred of criminality against him. But In December 19, 2011, Mr. Okorowa dismissed the applications insisting that there was sufficient evidence placed before the court linking Mr. Bankole to the alleged crime. Mr. Okorowa refused for the case to be struck out, holding that the insufficiency of prove of evidence as observed by the defendant was immaterial since it is the duty of the court to determine the value of the proof of evidence.

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