Accused persons in the over N8billion currency recycling fraud at the Central Bank of Nigeria on Friday asked the trial judge, Justice Olayinka Faji of the Federal High Court, Ibadan, Oyo State, to hands off the case.
They also want the chief judge of the Federal High Court to reassign the matter to another judge.
Trial was stalled Friday as counsel to the second and third accused persons, Olalekan Ojo, told the court that it was doubtful his client would get fair hearing from Justice Faji.
Mr. Ojo informed the court that he had filed a motion, praying the court to stay further proceedings in the matter.
The counsel accused the judge of having already convicted his clients by his pronouncements in his earlier ruling on bail applications on June 19.
The counsel specifically made reference to Justice Faji’s pronouncements on the defendants on page 93-97 of the ruling.
He said he had filed a motion dated June 26, 2015, praying for “an order of the honourable court staying proceedings or further proceedings in charge No FHC/IB/34c/2015 pending the determination of the second and third defendants’/applicants’ appeals against the ruling of the honourable court delivered on 19 June, 2015 in which the second and third defendants/applicants have requested the Court of Appeal to make an order directing the honourable Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to transfer or assign the charge no FHC/IB/34c/2015 to another Judge of the Federal High Court for trial”.
Counsel to the first defendant, Olayinka Bolanle, aligned with Mr. Ojo and informed the court of his motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter.
Mr. Bolanle told the court that a motion was filed with regards to the “propriety to continue with the trial, to expressions made in the ruling to the first defendant.”
He added that the motion was to challenge the partisanship and jurisdiction of the
However, counsel to the fourth defendant, Dare Adebayo, submitted that his team was ready to continue with the trial.
The prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), had expressed his readiness to continue with the trial.
He told the court that one of his witnesses was in court.
However, Justice Faji stated that the matter could not continue because of the development, adding that he would have to wait for the determination of the appeal.
He adjourned to Wednesday July 1, 2015, for all counsel to file motions and counter motions in the charge preferred against some ex- Central Bank Staff and staff of some commercial banks.
The accused persons include Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola, Toogun Kayode Philip, Ajuwon Bolade and Samuel Ogbeide.