Lai Mohammed’s absence stalls fraud trial of NBC chief Kawu

Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed was again absent in court on Wednesday, where he was billed to testify as a prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of the Director-General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Ishaq Kawu Modibbo, Pinnacle Communications Ltd, and two others.

Mr Mohammed was scheduled to appear before a Federal High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday, as a prosecution witness.

At a resumed sitting on Wednesday, the prosecution counsel, Henry Emore informed the trial judge, Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa that the Minister was absent in court because the President sent him on “an urgent assignment”.

“My Lord, I’m still expecting him; When I put a call to him, the PA said the President sent him on an urgent assignment,” Emore told the court.

It will be recalled that the Minister is part of the presidential delegation to the United Kingdom in respect of the legal altercation between Nigeria and P&ID firm.

On the other remaining witness, Emore said he wished to subpoena him, which the judge later signed for it to have the force of law.

In view of the circumstances, the prosecution counsel sought an adjournment to enable him bring the two remaining witnesses.

Apparently not satisfied with the inability of the prosecution to produce his two remaining witnesses, the judge reminded him that there are limits to which a court can grant adjournment in a criminal case.

Consequently, the judge warned that once Emore exhausts the limit for an adjournment, she would not hesitate to close the case of the prosecution and ask the defence to open their case.

Meanwhile, Justice Ogunbanjo-Giwa granted leave to the NBC boss to travel to Egypt to attend an International Telecommunications Union’s congress.

Ruling on the application, Justice Giwa ordered that the international passport of the 1st defendant should be released to him for the purpose of facilitating his travelling formalities.

The court ordered that the 1st defendant must submit back his international passport to the registrar of the court upon return to Nigeria on or before November 30.

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