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Court threatens to strike out suit against Citadel MD over prosecutor’s absence

Court threatens to strike out suit against Citadel MD over prosecutor’s absence
March 13
19:25 2018
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The Apo high court, Abuja, has threatened to strike out a case against Benjamin Joseph, managing director of Citdal Oracle Concepts Limited.

Joseph is being prosecuted by the police for allegedly giving false information, identity theft, impersonation and criminal conversion of contract.

The suit was filed against him after the Citadel managing director accused top officials of Zinox Group of hijacking a N170 million contract awarded to his company by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in 2012.

On the last adjourned date, Shefihu Mahmoud, a counsel from the office of the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), applied to take over the case from the police.

The matter was then adjourned to March 13 after Simon Lough, counsel to the police, raised an objection asking to verify the identity of the lawyer.

At the court on Tuesday, Madaki Wilson, a lawyer representing Lough, said the prosecutor was not in court because he was promoted and is being decorated by Ibrahim Idris, inspector-general of police.

Wilson also said the witness was not in court because “he is not feeling fine” and prayed for an adjournment.

“We have resolved it, the AGF said we should continue (prosecuting the case),” he said.

But K.S Olutekumi, counsel to Joseph, said it was unfair that the prosecution has been stalling the trial.

“I have to do this matter because I have to not because of legal fees,” Olutekumi said.

“I don’t know what he (Wilson) is saying that the prosecutor is being decorated. I want this court to note that adjournment was not proper.

“If the witness cannot be produced let the case be closed.”

Delivering a ruling, Peter Kekemeke, the judge, said if the prosecution is absent on the next adjourned date, he will strike out the suit.

“If the prosecution is not available, I shall have no option but to close it,” Kekemeke ruled.

The matter was adjourned till May 10.

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