Justice Danlami Senchi, in a ruling, agreed with the lawyer to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Aliyu Yusuf, that the oral application made by the defendants’ lawyer touched on the pending application for stay of proceedings.
Instead, Justice Senchi granted accelerated hearing in the case and adjourned till June 11 for hearing of pending applications.
He further ordered that any party that needed to file any processes must do so by June 5 and that no processes shall be accepted after the date.
Justice Senchi had on April 17, upon an application by the EFCC, issued bench warrants for the arrest of Adoke, Etete and others named in a charge filed by the anti-graft agency.
Also to be affected by the order are: Ralph Wetzels, Casula Roberto, Pujato Stefeno and Burrato Sebastiano, who are senior officials of multi-national oil companies – Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep (SNUD), Nigeria Agip Exploration (NAE).
They are accused in the charge of alleged complicity in the fraudulent allocation of Oil Prospecting License, OPL 245 and OPL 214.
They are also charged with conspiracy, money laundering to the tune of over $1.2 billion; forgery of bank documents, bribery and corruption against Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd that belongs to Etete.
Yesterday, Etete’s lawyer, L.O Ikwegwe, told the court that she had just been served with the EFCC’s counter-affidavit and will need time to respond to it.
Joe Gadzama (SAN), who is representing the fifth, sixth and seventh defendants, told the court that he was in the same boat with his colleagues as he was yet to see the EFCC’s counter-affidavit and therefore, will be asking for an adjournment.
He told the court that he served the EFCC the defendant’s affidavit since April 24, accompanied with the hearing notice, adding that with the new issues introduced in the counter-affidavit, he will be filing additional processes.
Gadzama urged the court to make the prosecution an undertaking not to proceed with the arrest since there was a legal challenge to it.
He urged the court to put the order on hold since the matter was not heard.
Faje Opasanya (SAN), who represented the fourth defendant, also told the court that he was also constrained to ask for adjournment as new allegations were raised in the EFCC’s counter-affidavit.
He also told the court to restrain the EFCC from carrying out the arrest order. He stated that if by the next date his clients were arrested, the essence of the application would have been defeated.
Responding, Yusuf (EFCC) reminded the court that the defendants’ applications were for stay of execution of the warrant of arrest and therefore prayed the court to reject the oral application for the stay, a position Justice Senchi upheld.