08 June 2013, Lagos – Mr Oluwaseun Ogunbambo, who is standing trial before a Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, over alleged fuel subsidy fraud, has petitioned the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayo Philips, alleging bias against the trial judge.
Ogunbambo in the petition to the CJ, is praying for the transfer of his case from the trial judge, Justice Onigbanjo, citing third party influence on the judge.
The petitioner said that the case file in two suits Nos. ID/116C/12 and ID/122C/2012 should be taken to any other judge in the state in the interest of justice, as he has lost confidence in the trial judge.
“I write this letter, seeking transfer of the criminal proceedings brought against me by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from Justice Onigbanjo to any other judge of the High Court.”
He alleged that the judge has made up his mind to jail him before the commencement of trial, adding that this was evident when his counsel applied for bail, but same was denied, as he was the only oil marketer denied bail out of those that were arraigned before the judge.
He noted that the said ruling of the judge was, however, set aside by the Court of Appeal, alleging that the turning down of the bail application was as result of prejudicial matter introduced into the matter by EFCC, which involved the Stanbic IBTC bank with respect to a loan, which was unrelated to the subsidy matter.
He further alleged that it took him some time to realise that hard stance taken against him was premised on the fact that the judge was biased against him.
The petitioner alleged that notwithstanding the out of court settlement proposal written by the bank to the commission, withdrawing the case, he was stunned by the manner the judge turned down the bail application on the loan issue.
*Innocent Anaba, vanguard