Justice Danlami Senchi has adjourned hearing to June 11, 2019 on the application brought by Duaziya Louya Etete a.k.a Dan Etete, Mohammed Bello Adoke and four others to set aside a warrant of arrest of the same court against them.
Justice Senchi had ordered the arrest of Etete, Adoke, Ralph Wetzels, Casula Roberto, Pujato Stefeno, and Burrato Sebastiano on April 17, 2019 for not making themselves available for trial since 2017.
Etete and others are facing prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC for alleged fraudulent allocation of Oil Prospecting License, OPL 245 and OPL 214; 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.
Also standing trial are Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep (SNUD), Nigeria Agip Exploration (NAE) and their officials.
Etete’s counsel, 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, 2019, accompanied with the hearing notice, adding that with the new issues introduced in the counter-affidavit, he will be filing additional processes. He 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, representing 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.
Counsel to EFCC, Aliyu Yusuf 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.
Justice Senchi adjourned the matter to June 11, 2019 for hearing. He noted that the oral stay of execution submission made by the defendants’ touched on the main application and ordered an accelerated hearing on the matter.
He further ordered that any party that needed to file any processes must do so by June 5, 2019, and that no processes shall be accepted after the date.