N2.2bn fraud: Court rejects Fayose’s move to stop witness from testifying
The Federal High Court in Lagos has rejected a move by the Former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, and a firm, Spotless Investment Ltd to stop a banker from testifying against him in his N2.2bn fraud trial.
The Presiding Justice, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke said that Fayose’s application lacked merit, saying that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) can field one banker – Mr Johnson Abidakun, as its witness against the former governor.
Abidakun will testify in place of a bullion van driver, Adewale Aladegbola, who testified when the case was before another judge.
The EFCC, on January 16 alleged that Fayose secretly compromised the bullion van driver, hence, its decision to drop him and use Abidakun as a replacement.
Meanwhile, Fayose and Spotless Investment had, through his lawyers, Messrs Ola Olanipekun (SAN) and Olalekan Ojo (SAN), filed an interlocutory summons in objection to the EFCC’s move to change witness.
The defence counsel contended that allowing a change of witness was an abuse of court processes by the prosecution.
But the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), maintained that the EFCC was at liberty to replace Aladegbola with Abidakun since the case was starting afresh before Justice Aneke, after it was transferred from Justice Mojisola Olatoregun (retd.), before whom Aladegbola testified.
In a short ruling Monday, Justice Aneke upheld the prosecution’s application, saying “This is a fresh trial, the parties are at liberty to call any witness that they desire in proof of their case. As a result, the defendants/applicants’ interlocutory summons is dismissed for lack of merit.”
Aneke, therefore, adjourned the case till May 5 and 6 for the continuation of trial.