An FCT High Court on Monday adjourned the trial of Lawrence Pepple and Henry Ogbulue, to October 21. Both men were aides to Kingsley Kuku, a former adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta.
The Judge, Mamman Kolo, adjourned the cases at the instance of the counsel to the defendants, Jay Jay Ezeuko.
Messrs. Pepple and Ogbulue were separately arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for criminal conspiracy and fraudulent acquisition of property while in office as public servants.
Their offences contravened Section 26(1)(b) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 12 of the same Act.
The EFCC Counsel, Farouk Abdullahi, called Reuben Ajibade, a retired Acting Head of Administration in the Office of the Special Adviser to the former President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta.
Mr. Ajibade told the court that Mr. Pepple was the technical assistant to Mr. Kuku and was employed to provide specialised advise on the amnesty issues.
“When Mr. Pepple was engaged by the special adviser, letter of his appointments was issued to the defendant and I can identify the documents when shown to me.
Mr. Abdullahi tended the documents and urged the court to admit the four documents as exhibits.
But, the counsel to the defendant, Mr. Ezeuko opposed the tendering of the documents, claiming that the documents were computer generated.
According to him, it did not conform with Section 84 which requires a certificate to reproduce so that this court will make sure that the documents are not fictitious.
“My submission finds relevance where the witness admitted that they do not have original copies of such documents in the office file,” he said,
He urged the court to reject the documents.
In his response, Mr. Abdullahi argued that the documents were not those contemplated under the law. He said that the documents were duly certified by an officer in the office of the Special Adviser to the former President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta.
The judge admitted and marked the documents as exhibit A, B, C and D.
In a related case, Mr. Ezeuko cross-examined Mr. Ajibade during the hearing of Mr. Ogbulue’s case.
Mr. Ogbulue is also standing trial for the same offence.
The witness also said that Mr. Ogbulue’s original appointment letter was not in the office file because the defendants were given the original.
Mr. Ajibade said further that the original copy of the appointment letter was first shown to him by an EFCC officer Chris Odofi, in the station.
“I did not also have the defendant’s original copy of acceptance letter of appointment in the office file. I was the Head of Administration Department but I cannot employ anyone at my own discretion,” he said.