The Federal Government has filed additional evidence against three Abuja-based legal practitioners over allegations bordering on impersonation, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
The three lawyers are facing trial on a four-count criminal charge bordering on false information with intent to mislead the Court of Appeal into entering a consent judgment of N52 million in their favour.
The trio are Maxwell Opara, Gold Nwankwo and Jubilate Obasikene, who are all practicing in the law firm of Maxwell Opara and Associates.
The Federal Government, through the prosecution agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had equally filed a list of additional witnesses it shall call in the prosecution of the case.
Upon resumed hearing on Wednesday, the EFCC’s counsel, Ibrahim Buba, informed Justice Hamza Muazu of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, about the new development.
Buba said that the list of additional evidence as well as the list of additional witnesses had already been served on the defendants.
Although the lawyer expressed his readiness to proceed with the trial, the defence counsel who confirmed that the documents were served on them, prayed for a short adjournment to enable them study the documents.
Counsel to Maxwell Okpara (first defendant), K.C Muemeka, told the court that the said documents were just served on them in court.
Responding, Buba, who consented to the request for an adjournment, agreed that, indeed, the defence team needed more time to study the additional evidence.
Consequently, Justice Muazu adjourned the case to February 13 and February 14, 2023, for trial.
NAN reports that the charge, marked CR/444/2022, followed a petition by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the Chairman of the EFCC, accusing the lawyers of fraudulent representation and impersonation.
They were alleged to have fraudulently entered appearances for the CBN and Unity Bank Plc, without the consent and authorisation of the banks in an appeal marked: CA/A/18M/2017 in respect of a garnishee proceedings involving the sum of N52 million at the Court of Appeal, Abuja.
The offence, according to EFCC, is contrary to Sections 96 and 140 of the Penal Code Law of the Northern Nigeria as applicable in the FCT, Abuja.
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