A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered lawyers to former Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Abdullahi Inde Dikko to deliver to him a charge pending against him (Dikko) before the court.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) filed the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/21/2018 in which it accused Dikko and two others of defrauding the Managing Director of Cambial Limited, Yemi Obadeyi of N1.1bilion.
The ICPC said it served the charge on the other two defendants – Garba Makarfi (a former Assistant Comptroller in charge of finance at the Nigeria Customs Service) and Umar Husseini (a lawyer) – ,but has been unable to serve Dikko since it was filed last year.
In view of the development the ICPC, on the last date, applied under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) for the charge to be served on the ex-Customs boss through the lawyer that represented him during investigation, a request the court granted.
At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, Dikko (the first defendant) was absent, while Makarfi and Husseini were in court.
Prosecution lawyer, Adenekan Shogunle told the court that, in compliance with court’s order, the charge has been served on the law firm of Mahmud A. Magaji (SAN) & Co for onward delivery to the first defendant (Dikko).
A lawyer from the law firm, Miss. B. O. Odigie said the charge was wrongly served on her firm, and that she has filed an application to challenge the service of the charge on her firm.
She said her firm was not briefed by the first defendant to represent him in this case, although the firm was representing Dikko in other cases.
When confronted with a letter tendered by the prosecution, marked: “Exhibit ICPC 2,” in which the law firm undertook to produce Dikko whenever his presence was required, Odigie sought time to “put our house in order.”
At that point, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu told Odigie that her firm was only required to hand the charge to the first defendant as ordered by the court.
The judge said the court was not interested on whether or not the law firm was briefed to handle the case on behalf of the first defendant.