Friday, March 28, 2014

NEWS UPDATE: Ayo Fayose To Face Court For N416million Misappropriation Funds, Despite Been Ekiti PDP Governorship Candidate

The court admitted more exhibits against the ex-governor.

A Federal High Court in Ado- Ekiti, Ekiti State, on Thursday refused the request by the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, to delay his trial to enable him concentrate in prosecuting his gubernatorial ambition.

Mr. Fayose, a former governor of Ekiti State, is standing trial for allegedly misappropriating state funds to the tune of N416 million during his tenure between 2003 and 2006.

However, last Saturday, he emerged the flag bearer of the PDP for the June 21 governorship election in the state.

At the resumed hearing on the fraud suit, the counsel to the former governor, Raji Ahmed, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, prayed the court to adjourn the matter till the first week in July to allow his client concentrate on his electoral campaign as the candidate of the PDP in the governorship election in Ekiti. He argued that the accused must be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The request was, however, turned down by Justice Adamu Hobon, after an objection by Rotimi Jacobs, also a SAN and counsel to EFCC, who said that an accelerated hearing of the matter would help Mr. Fayose.

“It would be in the interest of the accused person, so that his people can make up their mind about him and his name cleared before the election,” Mr. Jacobs said.

Mr. Hobon, thereafter, adjourned the matter till May 6, 2014 for continuation of trial.

Before the matter was adjourned, the court admitted eight documents tendered as exhibits by the prosecution.

The documents admitted included Certificate of Identification of Biological Concept Nigeria Limited; Account Statement of Biological Concept Nigeria Limited; Account Opening document of Biological Concept Limited; Account Statement of Avians Specialties Nigeria Limited and Account Opening document of Avians Specialties- all with Skye Bank Plc.  Others are Certificate of Account of People’s Democratic Party, Ekiti State, at Keystone Bank; the Account Opening form of the party; and its Statement of Account.

Five of the documents involving Skye Bank were presented before the court by a prosecution witness, Emmanuel Alejo, who was led in evidence by Mr. Jacobs.

The EFCC counsel urged the court to admit the documents as exhibits. He said the witness could not produce the original of the documents owing to short notice.

The witness had earlier told the court that he was instructed to prepare the documents for witnessing, two days before he appeared in court.

According to him, “for me to produce the original of the documents, the management of the bank will have to sit, deliberate and agree before the documents can be released and this will not meet the time the court is supposed to sit.”

This claim was, however, opposed by Mr. Ahmed, on the grounds that the reason offered by the witness was not tenable in law.

According to the accused person’s lawyer, even with the short time frame, the management of the bank should have released the original of the documents.

In his ruling, Mr. Hobon said that, “looking through the Evidence Act 83(2), 84, 89(f) (h) all read together, no doubt, these documents passed admissibility test and such can be admitted as evidence”.

He subsequently admitted the documents as exhibits N1-N5.

The court also admitted three documents presented by another prosecution witness, Taiwo Sanusi, head of Compliance, Monitoring and Reporting at Keystone Bank.

The three documents were generated from an account of the PDP, Ekiti State.

Mr. Jacobs prayed the court to admit them as exhibits; and with no objection by Mr. Ahmed, Mr. Hobon admitted them as exhibits P1, P2 and P3 respectively.

Mr. Fayose was re-arraigned on November 22, 2012 by the EFCC on a 27-count amended charge bordering on misappropriation of N416 million state funds.

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