Lawyer salary

The absence of the defense lawyer blocks the trial of a phantom doctorate

The trial of a former acting director general of the Federal Institute of Industrial Research Oshodi, Lagos, Chima Igwe, for alleged certificate fraud, was stalled on Tuesday due to the absence of his lawyer.

The president, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retired), had ordered the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission to prosecute him for collecting salaries with a phantom doctorate for 18 years.

A PUNCH correspondent had traveled to the University of Abomey Calavi, in the Republic of Benin, where the defendant claimed to have obtained the doctorate, and discovered that he had not completed the program and had not used a letter of attestation issued by his supervisor in 2002 to obtain a promotion to the university. institute.

During the court session on Tuesday, the case was called to continue and a member of the ICPC prosecution team, Kehinde Adetoye, informed the court that the commission had received a letter from the lawyer of the defense on Friday, June 10, 2022, requesting an adjournment. .

Adetoye explained that the defense lawyer had communicated that he would be in another court in Abuja and would be back in Lagos on Wednesday.

He said: “In view of this, the defense lawyer has requested that the dates for today and tomorrow be canceled.

“However, my Lord, on our own initiative, we humbly request the court to have the Thursday date also waived.

“We want the court to give us three more clear dates for the continuation of this case.”

Judge Sherifat Solebo of the Special Court of Misdemeanors had scheduled June 14, 15 and 16 for further court proceedings in the case, as the court also summoned FIIRO employee Abati Abidemi in February to testify on pain of arrest.

Abidemi is expected to testify as the second prosecution witness after the first prosecution witness tendered three exhibits and the court admitted them.

Judge Solebo adjourned the case until September 12, 13 and 14 for the continuation of the trial.