Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo, has withdrawn his service as prosecuting counsel in the trial of a former Governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, who is facing six counts of N2.45bn fraud before a Federal High Court in Abuja.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC had, on May 18, 2015, re-arraigned Sylva for the offences he allegedly committed between October 2009 and February 2010 as governor of Bayelsa State.
However, counsel from Keyamo’s law firm, John Ainetor, appeared in court on Monday, informing the presiding judge, Justice Evoh Chukwu, of his principal’s decision to withdraw from further prosecuting the case.
Ainetor did not give reasons for Keyamo’s decision, while Keyamo’s letter to the EFCC, indicating his intention to withdraw from the suit, did not also give any specific reason.
Also, the application he filed to that effect did not give any details apart from stating that his decision was informed by “certain recent developments”.
His letter to the EFCC read, “Kindly recall that sometime in 2012, the Commission briefed my Chambers to prosecuteCHARGE NO. FHC/ABJ/CR/23/2012; BETWEEN: THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA V. TIMIPRE SYLVA. Since then, we have diligently prosecuted the Charge and successful opposed the bid of the accused person to quash the Charge in limine.
“The court ruled in our favour for the trial to commence and the Court of Appeal also refused to stay proceedings in the trial.
“However, certain recent developments (in respect of which I would prefer not to elaborate) have necessitated my decision to withdraw from further prosecution of the said Charge.
“This is because these recent developments may hamper my effective, efficient and vigorous prosecution of the Charge, duties that are expected of every prosecutor.
“Permit me, therefore, to return the case files to the Commission for re-assignment to another counsel for due prosecution.”
His application was granted and the matter was adjourned till June 1.
The former governor also has similar charges pending against him before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Sylva had earlier pleaded not guilty to the Monday’s e six counts when he was first arraigned for the offences before Justice Adamu Bello (retd) on June 5, 2012.