The scheduled arraignment of the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Ishaq Moddibo Kawu, by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) could not hold due to the absence of the co-accused, Dipo Onifade in court.
Kawu, Lucky Omoluwa and Onifade, Chairman of Pinnacle Communications Limited and the Chief Operating Officer respectively, are facing a 12-count charge bordering on abuse of office, money laundering and misleading a public officer with the intent to defraud the federal government in contravention of Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
They were to appear before Justice F. O. Giwa, of the Federal High Court, Abuja, over their alleged involvement in the mismanagement of the N2.5 billion seed grant for the Digital Switch-Over programme of the federal government.
Counsel to Onifade, Alex Iziyon (SAN) at the scheduled arraignment today informed the court of his absence, saying that he was on transit from Kaduna to Abuja, and asked the court to stand down the matter for an hour.
Justice Giwa obliged him, only for Iziyon to later tell the court that his client could not be reached since 6am when they last exchanged messages. He accordingly sought for an adjournment to enable his client attend while assuring the court of his presence on the next adjourned date.
ICPC counsel, Henry Emore, did not oppose the application for adjournment but urged the court to be ready to proceed with the trial immediately after their arraignment on the next adjourned date.
The trial judge, before her ruling, warned that Onifade should be told to stop traveling on the same day that the court sits, insisting that he should endeavour to be in court before 9am on the next adjourned date of 2nd May 2019.