The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday demanded to see the death certificate of the former Director of Legal, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Grace Taiga.
Taiga’s lawyer, Daniel Alumun, had November 4, 20,23 informed the Federal Capital Territory High Court that his client had died.
Taiga was standing trial before Justice Olukayode Adeniyi on allegations bordering on bribery in the controversial Gas Supply Processing Agreement between Process and Industrial Development and the Federal Government of Nigeria.
She was first arraigned on Sept 20, 2019, before the court in the case, marked, FCT/HC/CR/504/19 on eight charges. On October 3, 2020, the EFCC increased the charges to 11 and again amended the charges to 13 on January 10, 2021.
The EFCC first amended the charge against the defendant on October 3, 2020, to 11-count and later further amended it to 13-count on January 10, 2021.
In the 13-count amended charge preferred against her by the anti-graft agency, Taiga was accused of receiving a bribe through her offshore bank account in signing the controversial GPSA.
EFCC further claimed that she violated various laws by entering into the Agreement without prior approval by the Federal Executive Council and a certificate of no objection to the contract from the Bureau of Public Enterprise.
She, however, pleaded not guilty to the allegations preferred against her.
The prosecution subsequently called eight witnesses to testify against the defendant and closed its case on Feb. 27, 2023.
The court then directed the defendant to open her defence on the next adjourned date.
At the hearing of the case on November 4, 2023, counsel for Taiga, Alumun, told the court that the defendant passed on on August 1, 2023, at a hospital in Abuja and urged the court to dismiss the matter.
The case was, however, adjourned till Wednesday.
Not satisfied with the claim, the counsel for the EFCC, Mohammed Hussain, insisted that Tiaga’s death certificate must be produced before the court.
Taiga’s counsel pleaded with the court to give him more time to get the certificate, adding that her death certificate was not yet ready.
Hussain rose again and said, “My lord, the certificate must be brought to the court as stipulated by the law before any decision can be taken. ”
Justice Adeniyi, however, adjourned until March 6, for further report on the death certificate.