The National Commandant of the Peace Corps of Nigeria, Ambassador Dickson Akoh on Tuesday prayed the Federal High Court in Abuja to adjourn his criminal trial indefinitely, till the Nigeria Police obey the court order that unseal the headquarters office.
The Nigeria Police had in 2017 sealed the headquarters office of the Peace Corps of Nigeria and dispersed dignitaries attending the opening ceremony of the headquarters office on the ground that Akoh was wanted for extortion of applicants mostly youth who paid fees for registration.
He was consequently arraigned before the court on 13-count money laundering charges to which he pleaded not guilty. The court on January 16, 2018 acceded to the defendant request and ordered the Police to unseal the premises of the headquarters office.
At the resumed trial Tuesday, the prosecution counsel, A. S. Don-Oboh who announced appearance for the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), said they are ready for trial except that the defendant has filed a motion praying the court for an indefinite adjournment.
The defendant counsel, John Ochogwu told the judge, Justice John Tsoho that the defendant motion is praying the court to adjourn the matter sine -die pending when the complainant obey the court order made on 16, 2018.
He said the complainant in respond to his motion had filed a five paragraphs counter affidavit that did not controvert the defendant position. Rather, they have conceded to our application. Ochogwu submitted that the attitudes of the complainant is a sad reminder of the days of military rule.
Citing legal authorities in support of his arguments, defendant counsel said that a litigant who disobeyed a court order ought not
to be given a hearing. ” Litigation is a game cheese where one can choose, ” he stated, adding that only the court can protect it integrity not the executive or legislature arms of government can do it.
He said that before the complainant take advantage of the provisions of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (AJCA), which they said allow them to continue the with trial, they must come clean.”He who goes to equity, must go in clean hands”.
He reminded the court of its powers under the Constitution which empowered the court to protect its powers.
In his response, the prosecution counsel, Don- Oboh urged the court to discountenanced the defendant/applicant counsel submissions and refuse the application.
He said that the application is contrary to Section 306 of AJCA as it amounted to a stay of proceedings.
Don- Oboh urged the court to uphold his submissions which he claimed are in line with the decisions of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the case between Saraki vs FG and Olisa Metuh vs FG.
But, Ochogwu said both cases cited by the prosecution counsel are distinguishable from the defendant case because neither Saraki or Metuh disobey the order of the court. He said that in the instant case the prosecutor has disobeyed and continued to disobey the order a year and some months.
Besides, the defendant claimed that he has been disadvantaged in preparing for his defence in the 13-count charges against him because all documents and facilities need for his defence have been seized by Police along with the closed office.
Justice John Tsoho after listening to the counsel adjourned the matter to June 11, 2018 for ruling.