Land fraud trial: Judge withdraws over defendant’s ’embarrassing calls’

Land fraud trial: Judge withdraws over defendant’s ’embarrassing calls’

Friday, December 7, 2018 6:51 pm

Adenike: the defendant


The trial of Victoria Adelana, a civil engineer, who is standing trial for a N5 million fraud, before Justice D.Z. Senchi of a Federal Capital Territory, FCT High Court, Jabi, has taken a new twist as the trial judge withdrew from the case accusing the defendant of embarrassing him with several calls, “asking for help” in the matter.

Adelana, who is accused of defrauding Chinenye Ike in a land scam, was arraigned in May 2016, and pleaded “not guilty” to the charge.

She later jumped bail, and had to be declared wanted, before operatives of the EFCC arrested her on February 10, 2018 and brought her to court to face her trial.

Justice Senchi thereafter revoked the bail earlier granted her and ordered that she be remanded in Suleja prison.

The trial had continued on February 20, 2018 with prosecuting counsel, Diane Nkwap, calling her first witness, Frank Kamalu, who told the court how the defendant collected the money to buy a plot of land at Maitama Extension II, in Abuja, for Ike. It however, turned out to be a land scam.

At the resumed sitting, Justice Senchi, was to give ruling on bail, and a “no-case” submission by the defence. However, the trial judge informed both prosecution and defence in open court that he felt embarrassed by the recent development, in which the defendant had literally been harassing him with several calls.

“Since last sitting of November 28, 2018 when the matter last came up, she has been calling me severally asking for help in the matter and even today before sitting commenced, she called me,” Justice Senchi said.

The trial judge then asked Adelana how she got his phone number.

“Danlami, a member of the Badminton Association gave me the number to call and beg for assistance,” she replied.

In view of the development, the trial judge, excused himself from the case, and ordered that the case file be returned to the Chief Judge of the FCT for re-assignment.

Adelana was also ordered to be remanded in prison custody pending the re-assignment of the case.

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