Subsidy Scam: Court Fines Abdulahi Alao for Counsel’s Absence in Court

Abdulahi Alao

Justice Adebisi Akinlade of the Lagos High Court, sitting in Igbosere, on Wednesday September 17, 2014 ordered that Abdulahi Alao, a defendant standing trial in a N2.6billion scam, instituted against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, should pay a sum of N50, 000 as fine to the EFCC, for the failure of his counsel to appear in court for the continuation of his trial.

A defence team led by Taiwo Osipitan (SAN) failed to show up in court on Wednesday, for the cross examination of a prosecution witness, Laval Ahmed, who also doubles as the principal witness in the ongoing trial of Alao and his company, Axenergy Limited for their alleged involvement in a N2.6 billion oil subsidy scam, under the Petroleum Support Fund, for a purported importation of 33.3million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
Oluwatosin Dawodu who held brief for Osipitan, prayed the court to adjourn to a later date, explaining that Osipitan was absent because he had to attend a conference. But the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, immediately prayed the court not to grant the application. “This application is intended to put wool in the eye of my Lord, I therefore urge my Lord to use the sledge hammer of justice to prevent that from happening. And that the cost of transportation of the witness be taken over by the defence counsel,” he said.

Justice Akinlade, who had earlier insisted that Dawodu must go ahead with the cross examination of the witness, however granted the adjournment, which according to her, was necessary to enable the defendant get deserved fairness and proper representation. She also ordered that the transportation cost of the prosecution witness be paid to him before the next adjourned date.
She subsequently adjourned the matter till October 8, 2014 for continuation of trial.

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