Justice Adedayo Akintoye of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Igbosere, on Friday, October 6, 2017 dismissed an application filed by Justice Hyeladzira Ajiya Nganjiwa of the Federal High Court, Bayelsa Division, seeking a stay of proceedings in a case of unlawful enrichment to the tune of $260,000 and N8.65million (about N81, 705,000) preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
At the last adjourned sitting, Nganjiwa was granted bail on self-recognition after he pleaded not guilty to the 14-count charge.
Counsel to the accused, Chief Robert Clarke, SAN, had filed a motion on notice dated October 4, 2017 seeking an application for stay of proceedings.
Moving his application today, Clarke said: “”My Lord, after an appeal has been entered at the Court of Appeal, a date has been given for hearing. My Lord, in the interest of Justice and the Constitution of Nigeria, I urge you to grant this application.”
However, the prosecution counsel, Wahab Shittu, opposed the application based on the provision of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA.
“We strongly oppose this application based on the ACJA. It’s incompetent because the law does not allow it. My Lord, this will cause delay. Our courts frown on delay tactics by defence counsel.
“The fact that defendant has taken his plea means that he has surrendered himself to the jurisdiction of the court. This application is incomplete; it’s designed to delay proceedings. I urge my Lord to dismiss the application and order the prosecution to commerce its case. In fact, my Lord, our witnesses are ready.”
In his short ruling, Justice Akintoye held that “The application before the court is motion on notice, asking the court for stay of proceedings.
“The judiciary system has moved away from delay tactics. As a result, this matter will continue today. The application is hereby dismissed. We will proceed with the trial.”
Following the ruling, counsel to the defendant pleaded with the court for more time to go through the proof of evidence served on him by the prosecution.
Consequently, Justice Akintoye adjourned the case to November 13, 15 and 22, 2017 for continuation of trial.