Justice Ambrose Lewis Allagoa of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Friday said that he will close the prosecution’s case in the trial of Mr Kenneth Amadi charged over alleged N2.9 billion fraud if by next adjourned date, the prosecution refuses or fails to bring their remaining witnesses to court.
“If by the next adjourned date the prosecution fails to bring their witnesses for the proceedings to continue unhindered, I would not hesitate to close their case”, Justice Allagoa said.
Justice Allagoa gave the hint to close prosecution’s case when the matter was called for continuation of trial and the prosecution told the court that they could not proceed with the trial slated for Friday February 18, due to their inability to bring any of their witnesses.
Naham Damar who appeared for the prosecution in the absence of lead counsel Aderonke Imana, told the court that the lead counsel was out on official duty and moreover, the next witness, the IPO was not available. She said that in such circumstance, she would be asking for an adjournment.
Responding, defence counsel Dr Monday Ubani who appeared with O.J.Akinwale for the defendant, in his submission opposed the prosecution’s request for adjournment.
He told Justice Allagoa that the defendant is desirous of concluding the matter on record time and go on with his life, urging the court to ensure that if the prosecution is not ready to proceed by next adjourned date, the court should close the prosecution case and allow the defendant to open his defence.
“My lord, recall that at last proceedings, the prosecution promised to bring the witness today and now the witness is not here, contrary to the agreement reached.
“I am opposing the request for adjournment. If prosecution is not ready to continue, let them close their case.
“I want the matter to go on today, but my lord has the discretion” , Ubani submitted.
He reminded the court that there is a director who wrote the petition, stressing that if the IPO is not available, the director as the next witness should be called.
“There is a director who raised the petition against the defendant, if the IPO is not yet available, let them call the next witness who raised the petition.
Following the submission of defence counsel, Justice Allagoa in open court said yes it was agreed last proceedings that prosecution should bring their witness, however according to counsel, the witness is outside for official duty.
He said the trial could have continued if any of the witnesses was in court even without the lead counsel because she is ably represented by a counsel. But because the witness was not available, he would grant the request for adjournment.
He however agreed with defence counsel’s submission for an undertaking by the prosecution to endeavour to bring all their witnesses at next adjourned date, otherwise they close their case.
Granting the request for adjournment, Justice Allagoa told counsel representing the AGF that if by next adjourned date of March 24th and 25th, they refuse/fail to bring their witnesses for the matter to continue, he will have to close the prosecution’s case.
Recall that since the commencement of the trial, the prosecution has brought two supposedly key witnesses.
At last proceedings on January 20,, the second prosecution witness and accountant with Eunisell Limited, Mr Philip Enejo Odekina had under cross examination by Dr Ubani, stated in open court that the defendant Kenneth Amadi did not defraud Eunisell Limited.
Ubani: Are you saying that the defendant squandered the N2.9 billion as you claimed?
Philip Odekina: He didn’t steal the N2.9 billion.
Ubani: Was Kenneth Amadi owing Eunisell any money?
Philip Odekina: It was the customer that was owing N103 million and not the 1st defendant.
Ubani: From your own testimony, this money was never stolen?
Philip Odekina: 1st defendant did not steal the money, it was AZ that was owing Eunisell.
Ubani: Finally, eventually after reconciliation, he did not steal any of your money, Yes or No?
Philip Odekina: Yes.