The contract inflation scam trial of former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole scheduled for Monday was stalled following the transfer of the trial judge, Justice Donatus Okorowo to Taraba state.
The former Speaker is, however, asking for the judge to be allowed to continue handling the matter. In a letter addressed to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, counsel to the Speaker requested that Justice Okorowo be allowed to come from outside the Abuja jurisdiction to continue handling the matter.
EFCC had slammed a 16-count criminal charge on the former speaker where he was alleged to have defrauded the national treasury to the tune of about N894 million through contract inflation.
A prosecution witness in the course of the trial, ASP Ibrahim Ahmed, had told the court that the former Speaker awarded contracts to companies not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission and that several efforts to trace the locations of the companies were futile as the addresses found on the contract award documents purported to belong to the companies were non existent.
The witness who is a serving officer with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, also stated that upon investigating the petition written against the former Speaker by Dino Melaye, that he perused through the documents used by the then leadership in the award of the contracts and found out that contact details of the beneficiary companies were non existent.
He further stated that letters sent to the addresses were returned two weeks later for reason of non existence of the addresses.
By Nnamdi Felix/Abuja