President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime has filed additional evidence against three Abuja-based legal practitioners over allegations bordering on impersonation.
The three lawyers are facing trial on a four-count criminal charge bordering on false information with the intent to mislead the Court of Appeal into entering a consent judgement of N52 million in their favour.
They are Maxwell Opara, Gold Nwankwo and Jubilate Obasikene, who are all practising in the law firm of Maxwell Opara and Associates.
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 garnishee proceedings involving the sum of N52 million at the Court of Appeal, Abuja.
Through the prosecution agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the federal government 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, Abuja, about the new development.
Mr Buba said the list of additional evidence and other 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 to study the documents.
Counsel to Mr Okpara (first defendant), K.C Muemeka, told the court that the said documents were just served on them in court.
Responding, Mr Buba, who consented to the request for an adjournment, agreed that the defence team needed more time to study the additional evidence.
Consequently, Justice Muazu adjourned the case to February 13 and 14 for trial.
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.
The offence, according to EFCC, is contrary to sections 96 and 140 of the Penal Code Law of Northern Nigeria as applicable in the FCT, Abuja.