Alleged ₦304.1m fraud: ex-NIMASA D-G seeks to recall EFCC witness

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday fixed Dec. 3 for a former NIMASA Director-General, Haruna Jauro, to recall a prosecution witness to testify in a 304 million fraud charge preferred against him.

Jauro is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Jauro assumed leadership of NIMASA – Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency after Patrick Akpobolokemi.

He is charged by the EFCC alongside Dauda Bawa and Thlumbau Enterprises Ltd. on 19 counts bordering on 304.1 million fraud.

They were arraigned on April 12, 2016, but they pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

The court admitted them to bail in the sum of 5 million each with two sureties each in like sum.

The prosecution had since closed its case after conclusion of a trial-within-trial ordered by the court at the instance of the defence.

The defence, thereafter, opened its case.

On Monday, defence counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo (SAN), informed the court that the second Prosecution Witness (PW2), a staff of NIMASA, who he intended to recall to testify for defence, was absent in court.

Citing various judicial and statutory authorities, Ojo told the court that the defence was at liberty to recall a witness, even where such a witness had been called by prosecution.

According to him, the witness was unability to attend court due to circumstances beyond his control.

He urged the court to allow the defence to recall PW2.

In response, prosecutor witness, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, submitted that Section 256 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law provided that the court can, on its own, call a witness already called by the prosecution.

He argued that the defence had not brought any application before the court in that regard, adding that there must be a valid application before the court.

He also said that the defence was attempting to stall trial.

After submissions of counsel, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun ordered defence counsel to file a formal application.

She adjourned the case until Dec. 3 for continuation of trial.