The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) during proceedings on Wednesday, January 24, insisted on obtaining the death certificate of Grace Taiga, the former Director of Legal at the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
The legal representative of Grace Taiga, Daniel Alumun, informed the Federal Capital Territory High Court on November 4, 2023, about the demise of his client.
Justice Olukayode Adeniyi was presiding over the trial of Grace Taiga, who faced charges related to bribery in connection with the contentious Gas Supply Processing Agreement between Process and Industrial Development and the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Taiga initially faced eight charges when she was first arraigned on September 20, 2019, in the case marked FCT/HC/CR/504/19. Subsequently, on October 3, 2020, the EFCC escalated the charges to 11, and once again, on January 10, 2021, the charges were further amended to a total of 13.
In the revised 13-count charge filed by the anti-graft agency, Grace Taiga was accused of accepting a bribe through her offshore bank account in connection with the controversial Gas Supply Processing Agreement (GPSA) signing.
The EFCC alleged that Grace Taiga violated various laws by entering into the Gas Supply Processing Agreement without obtaining prior approval from the Federal Executive Council and a certificate of no objection to the contract from the Bureau of Public Enterprise.
Despite the charges, Taiga pleaded not guilty to the allegations leveled against her. Following her plea, the prosecution presented eight witnesses to testify against the defendant and concluded its case on February 27, 2023.
Subsequently, the court instructed the defendant to present her defense on the upcoming adjourned date.
However, during the hearing on November 4, 2023, Taiga’s counsel, Alumun, informed the court that the defendant had passed away on August 1, 2023, at an Abuja hospital. He urged the court to dismiss the case.
The court adjourned the matter until Wednesday, but the EFCC’s counsel, Mohammed Hussain, expressed dissatisfaction with the claim and insisted on the production of Taiga’s death certificate before the court.
In response, Taiga’s counsel requested additional time to obtain the death certificate, explaining that it was not yet available.
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, in response to the developments, adjourned the proceedings until March 6, awaiting additional information regarding the death certificate.