The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, has re-assigned the trial of a former Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, and son, Abdul-Aziz, on charges of money laundering to another judge of the Abuja Division of the court, Justice Okon Abang.
This development followed the death of the former trial judge, Justice Evoh Chukwu, early last month.
Lawyers, who are involved in the case, confirmed the re-assignment of the case to Justice Abang in separate interviews with our correspondent on Thursday.
The case was initially scheduled to commence afresh by a way of re-arraignment before Justice Abang on Thursday, but the court could not sit due to the extension of the Eid-el-Fitri holiday announced by the Federal Government on Tuesday.
Though no date of the re-arraignment has been officially announced, it is suspected that it will take place on Friday (today).
It was learnt that the prosecution, led by Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), had called six witnesses before Justice Chukwu’s sudden death.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had initially, on August 7, 2015, arraigned Nyako, along with his son, Abdul-Aziz, and Zulkifikk Abba, Abubakar Aliyu as well as five firms.
They were arraigned on 37 counts of money laundering, involving alleged diversion of N29,099,430,879.92 belonging to the Adamawa State Government.
The firms arraigned along with Nyako and his son were Blue Opal Limited, Sebore Farms and Extension Limited, Pagoda Fortunes Limited, Tower Assets Management Limited and Crust Energy Limited.
Abdul-Aziz is the senator representing Adamawa Central in the National Assembly.
All the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the 37 counts when they were initially arraigned.
In the counts 1 to 13 of the charge, FHC/ABJ/CR/293/15, filed on July 7, 2015, against Nyako and others, the EFCC alleged that between September 26, 2011, and May 31, 2012, the accused persons converted the total sum of N1.845bn, which allegedly was alleged to be proceeds of theft of funds belonging to the Adamawa State Government.