Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT High Court, Gudu, has fixed March 2, 2017 for further proceedings in the trial of Joshua Dariye, a former governor of Plateau State.

He is facing a N1.162 billion fraud charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The Chief Judge of the FCT High Court, Justice U.I. Bello had on January 23, 2017 thrown out Dariye’s letter seeking for transfer of his case to another judge, and ordered him to go and continue with the trial as his allegation of “manifest and undisguised bias” was baseless and unfounded.

The said letter dated December 13, 2016 had stalled the last sitting of January 18, 2017 prompting the trial judge to adjourn to February 15, 2017 pending the instruction of the CJ. Pwul had also brought before the court two motions, one which was dated December 6, 2016 asking for the “recall of some prosecution witnesses”, and the other dated December 13, 2016 asking the judge to disqualify his lordship from presiding over the case.

At Wednesday’s sitting, Pwul who was sighted at the court premises was not in the courtroom, but instead sent Dashuwar Nantok to represent the defence. Dariye gave a rather wry smile as he took his place in the dock.

But the day’s proceeding could not continue, as Nantok informed the court that “we need time to reply to prosecution’s response to the two motions, which we only received on Monday, February 13, 2017”.

Prosecution counsel, O.A. Atolagbe, however pointed out to the court that “with the decision of the Chief Judge dismissing Dariye’s allegation of bias against your lordship, events seem to have overtaken the second motion”.

But the trial judge, noted that since “it has not been withdrawn by the defence, we’ll be back here on March 2, for adoption of motions and responses”.

Author: Yemi Olarinre