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Suspected Subsidy Scammer Punished For Counsel’s Absence In Court
A Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere on Wednesday ordered Abdulahi Alao, a defendant standing trial in a N2.6billion fuel subsidy scam, instituted against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to pay a sum of N50, 000 as fine to the commission for the failure of his counsel to appear in court for the continuation of his trial.
Alao’s defence team led by Taiwo Osipitan, failed to show up in court on Wednesday for the cross examination of a prosecution witness, Laval Ahmed, in the on-going trial of the son of Arisekola Alao, late prominent Ibadan businessman and his company, Axenergy Limited.
Both were alleged to have been involved in a N2.6 billion oil subsidy scam, under the Petroleum Support Fund, for the purported importation of 33.3 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS.
Oluwatosin Dawodu who held brief for Osipitan, prayed the court to adjourn to a later date, explaining that his principal was absent because he had to attend a conference. But the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, immediately prayed the court not to grant the application.
“This application is intended to put wool in the eye of my Lord, I therefore urge my Lord to use the sledge hammer of justice to prevent that from happening. And that the cost of transportation of the witness be taken over by the defence counsel,” he said.
Justice Adebisi Akinlade, who had earlier insisted that Dawodu must go ahead with the cross examination of the witness, however, granted the adjournment which she said was necessary to enable the defendant get deserved fairness and proper representation.
She also ordered that the transportation cost of the prosecution witness be paid to him before the next adjourned date of October 8, 2014, for continuation of trial.