Justice Ambrose Lewis- Allagoa of a Federal High Court in Lagos has threatened to close the prosecution’s case in an alleged N2.9 billion fraud trial of a businessman, Kenneth Amadi, if its remaining witnesses were not brought to court on March 24.
The judge made the threat last Friday when the matter was called for continuation of trial and the prosecution told the court that it could not proceed with trial owing to non-availability of its 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 lawyer, Dr. Monday Ubani, was opposed to the prosecution’s request for adjournment.
He told the judge that the defendant is desirous of concluding the matter and go on with his life.
He urged the court to close the prosecution’s case the court and allow the defendant open his case, if the witnesses were not available on the next adjourned date.
“My lord, recall that at the 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 his discretion”, Ubani submitted.
He also 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”, Ubani said. Following the submissions of the defence lawyer, Justice Allagoa noted that trial could have continued if any of the witnesses was in court.
He also agreed with the defence lawyer’s submission for an undertaking by the prosecution to endeavour to bring all its witnesses at the next adjourned date, otherwise, they close their case.
Granting the request for adjournment, Justice Allagoa told the prosecution lawyer that if by next adjourned date of March 24, 2022, she refused or failed to bring her witnesses for the matter to continue, he will have to close the prosecution’s case. “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.