According to reports, the trial of former Managing Director of Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Ibrahim Abdulsalam, facing N6.8 billion fraud at a Federal High Court, Lagos, on Wednesday suffered another setback following the judge’s absence.
Abdulsalam is charged alongside six others for allegedly stealing and converting the agency’s N6.8 billion to personal use.
Others are Adegorite Olumuyiwa, Agbolade Segun, Clara Aliche, Joy Adegorite, and two companies — Randville Investment Ltd and Multeng Travels and Tours Ltd.
The case, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), was fixed for the continuation of trial on Wednesday but the absence of Justice Babs Kuewumi, who is attending a conference in Abuja stalled it.
The court fixed Nov. 8, Nov. 9, and Nov. 10 as new dates for the trial.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on April 7 arraigned the NAMA boss, three directors of the agency and the wife of one of the directors.
They had all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The charge was subsequently amended to include three more accused persons, while all were re-arraigned on April 12.
They again pleaded not guilty to the charges and were admitted to a bail of N20 million each with two sureties each in like sum.
On Aug. 19, 2013, the EFCC had alleged that the accused conspired to induce NAMA to pay N2.8 billion to three companies — Delosa Ltd, Air Sea Delivery Ltd and Sea Schedules Systems Ltd.
It was alleged that the payment was under the pretext of clearing NAMA’s consignments.
It was also alleged that between Jan. 2 and Dec. 17, 2013, the defendants appropriated N191 million belonging to NAMA as well as converting N728 million and other sums between 2013 and 2015 to personal use.
The offences contravened the provisions of Sections 1 (3) and 8 (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.