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Again, Ogun  Speaker’s Fraud Case Suffers Setback As  Prime Witness Flees, Judge Absent  

 Daud Olatunji

In an ongoing legal saga, the trial of Ogun State House of Assembly Speaker, Olakunle Oluomo, and three others, accused of diverting approximately N2.5 billion, encountered a fresh hurdle on Tuesday,the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) case, initially scheduled for proceedings, was once again adjourned.

The case was  adjourned until January 21 and 22, 2024, due to the absence of Justice Joyce Abdulmalik, the presiding judge at the Federal High Court in Abeokuta, who is reportedly on leave.

This marks the fourth instance of adjournment for the case, with prior delays attributed to pre-election matters, the judge’s reported indisposition, her reassignment to post-election tribunal duties, and now, her leave of absence following the election tribunal.

Adding to the complexity of the situation, the prime witness in the case, former Deputy Speaker Dare Kadiri, has fled the country, citing alleged threats to his life and the safety of his family. 

Despite Kadiri’s lawyers continuing to represent him in court, his departure from Nigeria underscores the heightened tensions surrounding the high-profile trial.

In a statement, Kadiri revealed, “I have reported this case to the police and other relevant security agencies, but when they were not providing me with protection, I had to protect myself, and that was why I left my business, house, and all in Nigeria to secure my life.” Kadiri clarified that he did not seek asylum but left the country to ensure his safety.

The EFCC had filed an 11-count charge against Speaker Olakunle Oluomo and others, encompassing allegations of forgery, conspiracy, and stealing from the state treasury. 

The repeated adjournments and the departure of the prime witness raise questions about the challenges and complexities surrounding the legal proceedings and the broader implications for the pursuit of justice in the case.

 

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