The sudden transfer of the presiding judge has put a spanner in the works regarding Dimeji Bankole’s trial

The sudden transfer of Donatus Okorowa, the presiding judge handling the trial of the former Speaker of the House of Representative, Dimeji Bankole has stalled the hearing of the criminal case.

Bankole who is standing trial on a 16 count charge pertaining to contract inflation and the fraudulent embezzlement of public funds has been slated to be tried for four days: starting from September 24 to 27.

The EFCC in its reaction has condemned the sudden transfer of Justice Okorowa to another Federal High Court in Taraba State, lamenting it was part of the problems faced by the commission in regards to corruption trial.

EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, further noted that such development was part of the reason why the agency kept calling for a special court to trial corruption cases.

Counsel to the EFCC, Festus Keyamo, said he was awaiting statement from the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Ibrahim Auta, to ascertain if Okorowa will be coming from Taraba to preside over the trial or if the case will be assigned to another judge.

The former lawmaker had on June 13 and July 26 filed two separate motions asking the court to strike out the case against him on the ground that the proof of evidence did not attribute any shred of criminality against him.

Justice Okorowa on December 19, 2011, however, dismissed the applications and insisted there were several evidence before the court connecting the accused to the alleged crime, hence refused to invalidate the case, saying the defendant’s observation regarding insufficiency of prove of evidence ?was immaterial because it was the duty of the court to determine the value of the proof of evidence.

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