Absence of defence counsel Friday stalled the trial of an alleged fake army general, Bolarinwa Abiodun, charged with impersonation, forgery and N266 million fraud.
Abiodun has pleaded not guilty to a 13-count charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before an Ikeja Special Offences Court.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo frowned at the absence of the counsel, Kayode Lawal, and cautioned that court was not a marketplace where one could do anyhow.
The court had asked the defendant why his counsel was absent, and he said that his (Lawal’s) brother informed him that the counsel was not feeling fine.
EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, also expressed disappointment at the response.
According to him, Lawal had the phone numbers of prosecution team but did not deem it appropriate to call and inform the team that he would not be in court.
“I called him when I discovered that he was not in court, and he was sounding very lively and said he sent his junior, but there is no representation here in court for the defendant.
“We have two prosecution witnesses in court to testify.
“My lord, we have undertaken not to delay this matter and we stand by our word,” he said.
The EFCC alleges that the defendant impersonated an army general and defrauded two companies of a total of N266 million.
It also alleges that the defendant forged a Nigerian Army identity card with serial number 387140.
The anti-graft agency said the alleged offences contravened Sections 1(3) and 6 of Advanced Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act of 2006, and Section 363 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
She adjourned the case until May 4 for continuation of trial.