N5.2bn Aviation Contract Scam: Absence Of EFCC Counsel Stalls Borishade’s Trial

BORISHADEIYAYI1The absence  of  the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission counsel, Mr. Sabastine Hon, on Monday stalled hearing in a Federal Capital Territory, Abuja High Court in a suit filed by the EFCC against former Aviation minister, Babalola Borishade, and four others.

The EFCC had charged Borishade, his former personal assistant, Tunde Dairo, and the others with mismanaging a N5.2bn Aviation Safe Tower contract, News Agency of Nigeria reports.

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

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

At the resumed hearing, Hon sent a letter conveying his apology over his inability to appear in court.

Opposing the submission, counsel to Borishade, Mr. Sunday Onuabi, said, “This is the second time that this case is being adjourned at the instance of the prosecution.

“My lord, it was the prosecution that asked for today’s date at the last adjourned date and yet he is not in court.

“My lord, he did not notify us that he will not be in court today”.

Onuabi argued that even the 10th prosecution witness, who was supposed to continue his testimony in the court, was absent.

In her oral submission, counsel to Eider, Miss Regina Okotie-Eboh, prayed the court to close the prosecution`s case and allow the accused to open their defence.

Justice Abubakar Umar, in his ruling, held that it would not be fair to close the prosecution`s case when his witness had not finished his testimony.

“Justice is a three-way traffic – justice for the court, the accused and the society. It will not be fair to close the prosecution’s case at this stage”, he said. (NAN)

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