Timipre Sylva’s Arrangement Stalled

The arraignment of the former Bayelsa State governor, Timipre Sylva, and six others before a Federal High Court in Abuja over their involvement in laundering N19.2 billion could not hold Tuesday.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is re-arraigning Sylva following fresh evidence linking him with certain fraudulent transactions carried out during his tenure as governor of Bayelsa State between.

He and the other accused persons are being prosecuted on a 42-count amended charge.

The other accused persons are Francis Okuburo, Gbenga S. Balogun, Samuel Ogbuku, Marlin Maritime Limited, Eat Catering Services Limited and Haloween Blue Construction and Logistics Limited.

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Although, the ex-governor was present in court, his counsel, Lateef Fagbemi, objected to his client taking a plea on the grounds that the accused persons were not served with hearing notice.

He asked that the provision of the law which allows for seven days before arraignment should be complied with.

Counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, however, urged the court presided over by Justice A.R Mohammed to proceed with the arraignment since the accused persons were already in court.

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He added that the defence already had a proof of evidence and the amended charge but Fagbemi insisted on the defence’s right to a hearing notice.

Counsel to the 4th accused person, Ajayi Olowo, at this point informed the court that he had filed a notice of preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter and asked for a short adjournment for the motion to be argued.

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Counsel to other defendants aligned themselves with his submission.

Jacobs, however, urged the court to take their arguments on the motion orally to save the time of the court and ensure speedy trial.

Justice Mohammed adjourned the case to January 23, 2014 for hearing on the notice of preliminary.

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