The absence of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) witness on Wednesday stalled the trial of one Embelakpo Apere, and his wife, Beauty, for alleged money laundering at the Federal High Court, Yenagoa.
Apere was a Special Assistant on Sustainable Development Goals to former Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson.
The EFCC arraigned Apere and Beauty on October 8 for money laundering allegedly carried out in 2015.
According to the commission, Beauty received about N200 million in dollars and Pounds sterling between May 2015 and April 27, 2016.
The EFCC alleged that the funds were proceeds of unlawful acts, punishable under the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.
The commission also charged Beauty for forgery of medical and birth certificates purported to have emanated from the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa.
The court granted her bail in the sum of N10 million and two sureties in like sum.
At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, the prosecution counsel, Mr. Mustapha Iko, told the court that the EFCC was not ready to proceed with the trial as its star witness was not released by the commission’s Port Harcourt zonal headquarters.
He said the office refused a request for the release of the witness to give evidence on October 19 because the date fell on a public holiday.
Iko appealed to the court to adjourn the case to enable the commission to produce its star witness to give evidence and substantiate the charges filed against the defendants.
The defense counsel, Mr. Andrew Arthur, who did not oppose the application for adjournment, noted that it lacked merit.
He argued that the delay was not in the interest of his client whose accounts had been frozen and her passport seized five years ago.
Arthur urged the court to compel the prosecution to take steps to expeditiously dispense justice as his client had been stopped from travelling to see her children schooling in the United Kingdom for five years.
Justice Ndahen Nwakam adjourned the case till November 3 for the continuation of the trial.
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