N1.7bn Fraud: Again, Lagos judge, Justice Okunu, fails to sentence fuel subsidy convicts

Ada Ugo Ngadi

  • As court fixes January 26 tentatively for the sentencing

For the third time in less than one week, Justice Lateefat Okunnu of the Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja on Wednesday failed to sentence three persons convicted last week of an eight count charge of fuel subsidy fraud owing to health challenge of one of the convicts, Adaoha Ugo-Nnadi.

The two other convicts are Walter Wagbatsoma, and Ontario Oil and Gas Limited.

The trial judge, Justice Okunnu adjourned the sentencing of the convicts till January 26 to allow Adaoha recuperate.

The trial court had convicted the three defendants in the case in a judgment.

But moments after the trial judge finished taking down the allocutus of the convicts and was preparing to hand down appropriate sentences, Adaoha Ugo-Nnadi slumped in the dock and passed out.

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The development created scene in the court with sympathisers and relation rushed her out of court for medical attention.

She was taken to Havana Hospital in Surulere where she was revived and has been saunting between the Havana Clinic and LUTH for attention.

The trial judge had rescheduled the sentencing till last Monday.

On the adjourned date (Monday), when the matter was called, Adaoha was conspicuously absent in court.

He was said to be recuperating in the hospital.

Mrs. Ugo-Nnadi’s lawyer said Ada was “in a very precarious” health condition at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.

He urged the court to give a new date that would enable the doctors have adequate time for his client’s treatment.

“What is not in doubt is that there’s a medical report that says she’s not well,” Mr. Onyeke said.

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The prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) however urged the court to sentence her in absentia.

But the trial court rejected the invitation, saying the sentencing could wait until the convict was medically fit to attend court.

In her ruling, the judge said the medical reports from Havana Specialist Hospital and LUTH, where the convict had been taken to, should be accompanied by an affidavit to be sworn to by the medical director and “attending doctor” respectively within 24 hours.

“The commissioner of police in Lagos is hereby directed to keep the second defendant under watch at whichever hospital she is taken to,” Mrs. Okunnu had said.

The matter was again adjourned till Wednesday but Adaoha was still unavailable.

The development compelled the court to further adjourn further sitting in the matter till January 26, this year.

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