The former governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani, will on December 4, 2017, be re-arraigned before the Federal High Court in Lagos over an alleged fraud of N5.3 billion.
His re-arraignment in the trial, which began in 2007 but has been stalled since July 5, 2015, was initially fixed for Thursday before Justice Chuka Obiozor.
The matter, however, could not proceed as scheduled following the absence of both the prosecutor, Kelvin Uzozie, and Nnamani himself, who reportedly was out of the country.
On Thursday when the case came up, a lawyer from the chambers of Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN), M. Bamidele, had announced appearance for Nnamani but told the court that the ex-governor was outside the country.
He had also told the court that his law firm got a notice for Thursday’s hearing only six days ago, saying that the notice was too short to allow it duly contact Nnamani.
The lawyer for Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), who is prosecuting the trial, Uzozie, had written the court and demanded an adjournment.
Following the development, the trial judge, Justice Obiozor, after denying the prayer of Bamidele for a longer adjournment to allow the firm adequate time to contact Nnamani, fixed December 4 for the re-arraignment of the ex-governor and his co-defendants.
The judge had submitted that since he was just assigned with the case, which has lasted for 10 years, that it’s not proper for it to seem he was delaying the trial by allowing further delay.
Justice Obiozor will be the fourth judge to handle the case since 2007 when the trial began.
Judges that have handled the case include Tijani Abubakar, Charles Archibong (retd.), and Mohammed Yunusa, who was later suspended by the National Judicial Council over corruption allegations.
Some of the defendants had on July 5, 2015, entered into a plea bargain and forfeited their assets before Justice Yunusa, a situation that had left the case stalled since then.