The trial of former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Nasir el-Rufai, and two others at an Abuja High Court could not hold on Wednesday.
This was due to the absence of Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), a defence counsel.
Also standing trial with el-Rufai are Altine Jibrin, a former Director-General, Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS), and Ismail Iro, a former General Manager, AGIS.
They are facing an eight-count charge of abuse of office and illegal possession of government lands by the EFCC.
The land allegedly acquired by the trio was meant for the construction of transmitting/Injection sub-stations of the Power holding of Nigeria at Plot 1201, Asokoro, Abuja.
el-Rufai was also charged with allocating 10 plots of land with the help of Jibrin and Iro in Asokoro district to his family members, including his two wives, Hadiza and Hasiya.
The action was allegedly committed ``in sheer disregard of the law guiding land allocation’’.
At the resumed trial before Justice Abubakar Umar, EFCC counsel, Mr Adebayo Adelodun (SAN), informed the court that Mr Sunday Idowu, an investigation officer of anti-graft agency was in court.
Adelodun said that the witness was ready for cross examination by Agabi (counsel to Iro).
But Mr Haruna Alome, who was holding brief for Agabi, informed the court that the principal counsel was not in court due to ill health.
Alome informed the court that he could not go on with the cross examination because Agabi only sent him to apply for an adjournment.
Reacting to the application for adjournment at the instance of the defence counsel, the EFCC counsel informed the court that the timing for the absence of Agabi was ``ill-timed’’.
``My Lord I know what I went through to be able to produce my witness, Idowu in court today.
``I have no objections to the application. But I want the court to take judicial notice of the fact that we are ready to go on with the matter and the adjournment is at the instance of the defence team,’’ he said.
Also reacting, ccounsel to el-Rufai (first) and Jibrin (second accused), Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN), did not object to the application for adjournment.
Olujimi said that since it was on account of ill health, the court should grant the application.
``I know Agabi. He has been coming to court since this matter started on Oct. 22, 2010. He has never failed to appear,'' he said.
Justice Umar granted the application for adjournment on account of ill health.
He adjourned the case to Sept. 25 for continuation of hearing and cross examination of the prosecution witness, Idowu.
It would be recalled that on April 25 when the matter came up, trial was stalled sue to the absence of the EFCC witness, Idowu.
Idowu was said to be indisposed as a result of ill health. Daily Trust