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Alleged N43.5m Fraud: Absence Of Defence Counsel Stalls Trial Of NOGASA Chairman

The trial of the Chairman of the Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA), Fatuyi Yemi Philips, was stalled on Friday due to the absence of the defence counsel.

The Chairman is standing trial alongside Oceanview Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited on a two-count charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of forty-three million, five hundred and two thousand naira (N43, 502,000.00).

He was first arraigned on April 7, 2022. However, he pleaded not guilty to the charges.

At the proceeding, the prosecution counsel, M.S. Owede, informed the Court that his attention was called to a letter sent by the defence counsel, O. Ajanaku, containing the prior notification that he would not be present in Court.

“This morning, my attention was drawn to a letter from the defence counsel that he will not be in Court today,” he said.

He told the Court that he saw the defence counsel fully robed in the Court on Monday, “yet he claimed that he has not been to the office this week.”

“My lord, to further amplify his mischief, he refused to suggest a date. The reason is not far-fetched: it is so that when we take a date, he’ll say, Oh! It’s not convenient, but we’ll reluctantly oblige him,” he added.

Justice Mojisola Dada adjourned the case till Friday, June 16, 2023, for defence.

The prosecution closed its case against the defendant on March 30, 2023, after presenting its fifth and last witness, Musa Mohammed, a Bureau de Change operator, who narrated how the defendant gave him the sum of $40,000 cash to help him change sometime in September 2016.


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