The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, on Thursday, prayed a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja to issue a bench warrant on Oluwaseun Ogunbambo and grant it power to verify a medical report presented to the court by the accused. In the medical report, Ogunbambo claimed to be sick and could not present himself in court for trial.
Counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo told the court that Ogunbambo’s medical report should be ignored until its authenticity was established. “In view of the antecedents of the 4th defendant (Ogunbambo) this medical report should not just be taken on its face value and be acted upon by the court, because the signature on the document is not enough proof that the report actually emanated from a hospital or that a medical practitioner actually signed the report”, he said. He also said that the EFCC had filed an application before the court to enable it verify the authenticity of the report.
However, counsel to Ogunbambo, Mobolaji Akintunde argued that there was no basis for issuing a bench warrant on his client when no proof of falsification of the medical report or false claim of the health condition of the accused person had been established.
After listening to the submissions of both the prosecution and defence counsel, the presiding Judge, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo granted the EFCC leave of court to verify the genuineness of the medical report, and based on the outcome of the verification, the EFCC can then file any other application, if necessary.
Also Justice Onigbanjo struck out an application filed by the defence team seeking to quash charges against their clients. Akintunde told the court that he was withdrawing the application and the judge struck it out accordingly. However, Oyedepo argued against the striking out of the application based on the fact that the accused persons were absent in court. According to Oyedepo, “in the event of an appeal, the defence can use this against the prosecution”. Justice Onigbanjo noted the fears of the EFCC counsel but struck out the application nonetheless. He subsequently adjourned the case to February 25 and 26, 2014, for continuation of trial.
Oluwaseun Ogunbambo is presently standing trial alongside Mamman Nasir Ali, Christian Taylor and Nasama Oil Services Limited for their alleged involvement in a N5.46 Billion oil subsidy fraud. They were arraigned on a 13-count charge for obtaining the said sum from the Federal Government, by a false claim that the sum represented subsidy accruing to them under the Petroleum Support Fund for the importation of 61,049,937 litres of premium motor spirit.