Thursday, October 23, 2014 8:44 pm
A Nigerian High Court on Thursday ordered a separate trial for a court registrar, Oluronke Rosulu, who was arraigned with a businessman, Fred Ajudua, for fraud.
Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of the Ikeja High Court in Lagos gave the order after upholding an application filed by Rosulu’s counsel, Mr Bamidele Ogundele, who sought a separate trial for his client.
Ajudua and Rosulu were charged to court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The anti-graft agency said that the accused conspired to defraud a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi of 8.3 million dollars between November 2004 and June 2005.
Ajudua is also accused of claiming that 1 million dollars out of the total money collected from Bamaiyi, was for financial assistance for the treatment of Justice Joseph Oyewole’s father.
Oyewole was then the trial judge in Bamaiyi’s case, while Rosulu was one of the court’s registrars.
In her ruling, Ipaye dismissed the objections not to separate the trial, raised by Ajudua’s counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo and the EFCC counsel, Mr Seidu Atteh,
The judge held that Rosulu’s application had its merits because it would be unfair to subject her to a delayed trial due to the plethora of applications before the court.
The judge noted that only counts one and two of the 34-count charge linked the second defendant (Rosulu) to the alleged offences before the court.
“I am satisfied that a meritorious case have been made for the granting of a separate trial for the second defendant.
“This application therefore succeeds and the relief is granted as prayed,” she held.
Ipaye therefore ordered the EFCC to consider filling a further amended charge to reflect the ruling of the court.
Earlier, Ogundele, through a motion dated Oct. 16, had prayed the court to separate the cases on the grounds that the plethora of applications would breach Rosulu’s constitutional right to a speedy and fair trial.
He noted that Rosulu, who was due for retirement in 2015, was already on suspension by the Lagos State Judicial Service Commission.
Ogundele said that his client was eager to stand trial and absolve herself of the allegations, before her retirement.
Meanwhile, Ojo also notified the court that the defence had four pending applications which had been served on the EFCC.
Responding, Atteh said two of the applications were served on the prosecution before the court sat and that they needed time to respond.
NAN reports that the matter was adjourned till Nov. 27, for further hearing.