The Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday ordered a former Registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, Prof. Adedibu Ojerinde, to pay N100,000 witness’ expenses to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission for stalling proceedings in his N5.2bn alleged fraud trial.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu gave the order while ruling on an application for adjournment made by Ojerinde’s new lawyer, Doyin Awoyale.
During the mention of the case, the lead prosecuting lawyer, Ebenezer Shogunle, said the case was set down for the commencement of trial, and that the prosecution had three witnesses in court.
But Ojerinde’s lawyer, Awoyale, pleaded for an adjournment, saying he was just briefed about the case and needed time to familiarise himself with it.
But the prosecutor, Sogunle objected to Awoyale’s prayer for an adjournment, noting that the prosecution was ready for trial and had witnesses in court, one of who “travelled at great risk from Ibadan.”
Sogunle reminded the court that the last three adjournments in the case were at the instance of the defence.
Shogunle however added that should the court choose to grant the defence lawyer’s request for an adjournment, it should be on the condition that the defendant would pay the prosecution witness’ expenses as provided for in Section 251 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
Ruling, Justice Egwuatu granted the defence lawyer’s prayer for an adjournment imposed N100,000 on the prosecution, as witness’ expenses.
The judge adjourned till February 8, 2022 for the commencement of trial.
Ojerinde was arraigned on July 6 on 18 counts, in which he was accused of complicity in the diversion of public funds estimated at over N5.2bn.
The ICPC claimed that Ojerinde committed the alleged offences from when he served as the Registrar of the National Examination Council through his days in JAMB till 2021.