Tax evasion: Binance executive’s absence stalls arraignment in court 

The arraignment of the detained Binance executive, Tigran Gambaryan, was Wednesday stalled owing to his absence.

Gambaryan was to appear before Justice Emeka Nwite of  the Federal High Court, Abuja.

At the resumed trial, when the judge asked about Gambaryan’s whereabouts, the prosecution counsel, Moses Idehu, who appeared for the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), informed the court that he didn’t know why the defendant wasn’t in court.

He said, “Correctional service was supposed to bring him in this morning for the arraignment, but since they were absent, the court should stand down the matter for an hour to ascertain why they weren’t present.

“My Lord, he was supposed to be produced from custody, but I don’t know the reason he is not here. We have been trying to get to members of the correctional centre.

“I ask that we stand down this matter so that we can confirm if they are on their way or give reason why they are not here yet.”

Both the 1st and 2nd defendant counsels however objected to the court standing down the matter.

The 2nd defendant’s counsel, Chukwuka Ikwuazom, (SAN), held that the matter cannot be stood down as it is the duty of the correctional centre to bring Gambaryan to court.

Idehu, while blaming the defendant’s counsel for the stall in arraignment added: “On the last adjourned date, we could have proceeded with arraignment but the defence counsel requested an adjournment. It is unfortunate Gambaryan is not here my lord, and it is not my fault. Since he is not here, we can adjourn to come back another day and we will ensure that we communicate with the prison service to bring him here and bring him early enough.”

T. J Krukrubo (SAN) stated that he was appearing under protest for the 1st defendant (Binance Holdings Limited) and objected to standing down the matter. He insisted that the prosecution should have confirmed earlier if the correctional services were bringing the defendant to court or not.

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