By Kayode Adeoti
A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, to appear before it in April, regardless of his health condition.
The court, in a ruling on Friday, asked the NBC boss’ lawyers to produce the defendant “even if he has to come to court on a stretcher”.
Kawu and others are facing trial for allegedly diverting funds meant for the digital switch over system introduced by the Federal Government.
They are being prosecuted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related offences Commission (ICPC).
A statement from the commission on Tuesday, signed by its spokesperson Rashida Okoduwa, said the latest order on Kawu was made by Justice F.O Giwa.
The NBC D-G, who was to be arraigned alongside Lucky Omoluwa and Dipo Onifade, Chairman of Pinnacle Communications Limited and the Chief Operating Officer respectively, over their alleged complicity in the mismanagement of the N2.5 billion seed grant, failed to appear before Justice Giwa, saying he was on admission at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital(UITH), Ilorin, Kwara State.
The statement quoted Kawu’s lawyer as saying that the defendant was on admission following recent medical challenges from a surgery he underwent a decade ago. His counsel therefore requested an adjournment of the case.
The lawyer representing the ICPC, Henry Emore, did not oppose the application for adjournment but requested the court to note the repeated adjournments at the instance of the accused.
In a ruling, the commission quoted the judge as saying that the defendant must appear in court for the trial to proceed.
“You must ensure that your client is in court even if he has to be on a stretcher; I am agreeing to this adjournment taking into cognisance his health issues, but the trial needs to go on, you must ensure he is in court next time,” she said.
“The judge further ordered ICPC to investigate the medical certificate and report back to the court,” the statement said.