The trial Godsday Orubebe, former Minister of Niger Delta Affiars, in court Monday stalled his arraignment for alleged involvement in the diversion of about N2.3 billion public funds.
The former Minister, with Oludare Lawrence Alaba (an Assistant Director, Ministry of Niger Delta Affiars), Ephraim Tewolde Zeri (Director of Contracts in Gitto Costruzioni Generali Nigeria Limited) and the company are named the six-count charge marked: CR/265/2016, filed by the Independent Corrupt Practices an other related offences Commission (ICPC).
According to the charge, the defendants are accused of diverting the N2.3 million meant for the compensation of property owners to be affected by the Federal Governemnt’s dualisation project of Section IV of the East West Road involving ex-Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Godsday Orubebe and three others.
Monday’s development is the second time the arraignment will be shifted to a later date.
They were initially scheduled to be arraigned before Justice Olukayode Adeniyi of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on August 18. It was shifted to August 30 when prosecution lawyer, Osuobeni Akponimisingha told the court that his agency, the ICPC was yet to effect service of the charge on all defendants.
Orubebe’s lawyer, F. Zimuan told the court that his client was absent in court because he was currently indisposed.
“His (Orubebe’s) absence is not deliberate. He suddenly took ill. He had domestic accident, which affected his ankle and wrist,” Zimuan said.
He said the development had cumulative effect on his hypertensive client, who had since been rushed to the hospital.
“I have a medical paper to that effect. I assure that he will come to face his trial once he is discharged from the hospital and we pray it will not be too long from today,” Zimuan said and sought a adjournment for 10 days.
Although the prosecution lawyer queried the authenticity of the medical report tendered by Orubebe’s lawyer, the Judge, Adeniyi agreed to an adjournment.