Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court Abuja has urged journalists covering the trial of Ochuko, the wife of a former Managing Director, Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Haruna Momoh for alleged corrupt acts to report the trial accurately.
The judge made the appeal last week after the counsel to the accused person, Ade Adedeji (SAN) drew his attention to publications in the print and electronic media which he said contained facts which did not transpire at the hearing of the case.
Adedeji had told the judge that the publication were sensational, misleading information and capable of affecting the defendants’ rights to fair hearing and the presumption of innocence.
The senior counsel had told the judge that the testimony of the 1st prosecution witness, Mrs Jane Asuquo, of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) was reported inaccurately.
He said that whereas the witness did not say that the accused person had 50 bank accounts, the report in the media said so.
He argued that the witness did not say anything about the children of the 1st defendant maintaining any accounts to which any money was ever paid among other misinformation carried by the media. He urged the judge to caution the media accordingly.
The judge agreed with the submissions of the senior lawyer which the prosecution counsel did not oppose and warned the media to exercise restraint and professionalism in reporting the proceedings in the case.
The judge further directed the counsel for the 1st defendant to file an affidavit attaching the publications complained of for record purposes.
The matter was thereafter adjourned to the 28th and 29th of October for continuation of hearing.
Ocbuko was arraigned alongside Blessing Azuka-Ngozi, Stanbic-IBTC Bank Plc, Energopol Nigeria Limited, Blaid Construction Limited and Blaid Farms Limited on a 22-count charge but later reduced to 13 counts.
They all pleaded not guilty to the charges.