A lawyer walks through the compound at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi district in Lagos, Nigeria, May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye
Reuters

The trial of Haruna Babajauro, former Acting Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), over alleged N304 million fraud has reached a critical state as Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday fixed June 20 for the adoption of final addresses.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun adjourned the matter for the adoption of addresses after the defence had informed the court that it had closed its case.

Jauro assumed leadership of NIMASA after an erstwhile Director General, Patrick Akpobolokemi.

He was charged by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) along with one Dauda Bawa and Thlumbau Enterprises Ltd.

They had been standing trial on 19 counts bordering on theft, fraudulent conversion of NIMASA’s property to their private use and money laundering.

They were arraigned on April 12, 2016 and had each pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The court had admitted them to bail in the sum of N5 million, with two sureties each in like sum.

The prosecution had since closed its case, after conclusion of a trial-within-trial ordered by the court at the instance of the defence, and had called five witnesses.

The defence, consequently, opened its case.

On Monday, A.O Mohammed announced appearance for the prosecution while M.Y Chiwar appeared for the first and second defendants.

The defence recalled a third prosecution witness (PW3), Barnabas Ishaku, who had earlier testified before the court, for examination.

The defence counsel asked the witness: “You remember you told this court on June 8, 2016 that you were Personal Assistant to the first defendant while he was Acting Director General of NIMASA,”

The witness replied, “Yes”.

Defenice counsel then called for three exhibits G. H, and I and asked the witness to identify if they were Memos from the Directorate of Finance and Administration of the Agency, and the witness replied “No”.

The witness added that there were no stamps evidencing same and no such memo was received by his office.

On how correspondences were received, the witness told the court that two clerical officers received incoming memo and stamped same as incoming and when going out, stamps them as outgoing.

When asked to identify if exhibits G, H and I were stamped as either received or outgoing, he replied that they were not stamped.

After this last question, the court asked the prosecutor if there was any re-examination, and he replied “No”.

The defence counsel then informed the court that he had closed the case of the defence.

Consequently, the court adjourned until June 20 for adoption of final addresses.

The defendants were charged with committing the offence in NIMASA between January 2014 and September 2015.

During trial the defence called three witnesses.

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