The trial, before a Federal High Court in Lagos, was stalled as a result of the absence of the lawyers to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The two other persons being prosecuted alongside Dudafa are Amajuoyi Azubike Briggs, who is a lawyer and Adedamola Bolodeoku, a senior staff of Skye Bank Plc.
The trio was charged alongside four companies, namely: Pluto Property Development Company Limited; Seagate Property Development Company Limited, Transocean Property Development Company Limited, and Avalon Property Development Company Limited.
The defendants are facing a fraud charge in connection with the $15.59m, which former Nigeria’s first lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan, is laying claiming to.
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Wednesday, the court presided over by Justice Babs Kuewumi, informed the defendants’ lawyers of a letter written to the court by the EFCC prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, seeking an adjournment due to a ‘national assignment’, outside the court’s jurisdiction.
Responding to the EFCC’s letter Dudafa’s lawyer, Gboyega Oyewole, described the situation the defence met themselves as unfortunate, saying that if it was the defendants that acted in such manner, the EFCC would have accused both the court and defence of delaying the proceedings.
He said, “It is most unfortunate that the case is slated for trial today, but the prosecution has delayed it. If it’s the defence, they would have gone to press and say court and defendants have delayed proceedings.
“Rotimi Oyedepo is not the only lawyer in EFCC, the commission has the largest chamber in Nigeria. It is an unfortunate situation, and I urge the court not to grant the application”.
In the same vein, the lawyer to the second defendant, Ige Asemudara, said he was taken aback to hear for the first time that the prosecutor would not be in court due to ‘national assignment’, which was not defined in the letter sent to court.
Asemudara said there was no reasonable reason in the letter to warrant an adjournment. He therefore also urged the court to refuse the application.
The lawyers representing the third defendant and the companies in the charge, Joseph Okobieme and Jeff Kadri, equally aligned themselves with the submissions of the first and second defendants.
They described the EFCC’s letter as a show of arrogance which was discourteous to the court and other lawyers in the case.
Ruling on the submissions by the defendants’ lawyers, Justice Kuewumi said the court could not dismiss the case.
The judge said the prosecution had the duty to communicate the same letter to the defence, he, however, adjourned the matter till September 13, 2017, for the continuation of trial.