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N5.2bn Aviation Scam: AGF’s Request Stalls Trial of Borishade, Others

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Hearing on a suit filed by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, against the former Minister of Aviation, Babalola Borishade and four others before Justice Abubakar Sadiq Umar of the Abuja High Court in Maitama, was stalled yesterday, following the request of the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, for brief on the matter.

Though both parties were present in court, Justice Umar informed them that the matter could not go on as planned as the AGF requested for a brief on the case by the EFCC since the matter had been in court for about 7 years.

He presented a letter dated February 2, 2016 from the AGF requesting for an adjournment of the case and records of court proceedings so far.

Counsel to EFCC, Chile Okoroma told the court that, his hands were tied with regards to continuing the proceeding as the AGF being the Chief Law Officer, has power over him.

According to Okoroma, “under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, and Section 174 of the Constitution, the AGF has the power to take over, continue or discontinue a case.”

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Counsel to the first defendant, Kehinde Ogunwumiju and Regina Okotie- Eboh representing the 4th and 5th defendants who had initially sought for a dismissal of the case which was earlier slated for ruling today, could not have their applications taken as a result of the letter from the AGF.

Justice Umar adjourned the case to February 17, 2016 for ruling and continuation of hearing pending the decision of the AGF.

Borishade, his former personal assistant, Tunde Dairo, and two others allegedly mismanaged a N5.2 billion Aviation Safe Tower contract.

Others on trial for the alleged offence are former Managing Director of Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, Rowland Iyayi; an Australian, George Eider and Avsatel Communications Ltd.

The suspects were arraigned on November 19, 2009 by the EFCC on a 15-count charge of taking bribe and forging aviation contract documents.

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