Alleged N3.2bn Fraud: Former Abia Gov. Wants Court to Reject EFCC’s Document

Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, was on Tuesday told to throw out a document, intended to be tendered as an exhibit by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Making the request, the former Governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu, through his lead counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), contended that: “It is legally untenable for the commission to certify a document which originally was in possession of the bank.
“The bank is in a better position to certify the document.”
The SAN further pointed out that: “Since the witness was not the maker of the documents, it will be difficult for the defence to cross-examine him on it.
“It is too late for the court to ask the prosecution to regularise the certification process of the documents because the defence had already raised its objections.”
Ozekhome then prayed the court to reject the documents attached to the cover letter.
On his part, counsel to the 2nd defendant, Solo Akuma (SAN) insisted that the documents must be rejected on the grounds that they were not properly certified.
Even counsel to the 3rd accused person, K.C Nwofo (SAN) posited that the documents in contention ought to be discarded on the reason that the witness was not the maker.
According to Nwofo, “EFCC certifying the documents is not normal on the reason that the documents were originally not in the commission’s custody.”
Responding, counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), argued that since no objection was raised as to the admissibility of the cover letter, the entire document should be accepted by the court and admitted as exhibit.
Jacobs explained that what the EFCC did was to only certify the letter sent to it by the bank which is now in its possession and that the certication is in substantial compliance with Section 104 of the Evidence Act.
Prior to the objections, Jacobs had during his examination-in-chief of the first prosecution witness, Onovah Ogonevoh, attempted to tender a document from Manny Bank Plc (now defunct) in response to an enquiry from the commission in respect of 27 bank drafts issued by the Umuahia branch of the bank.
The financial institution had in its response dated October 13, 2006, to the EFCC’s request, attached the customer’s name, the account number and copies of the bank drafts to the cover letter.
Ruling has been fixed for Wednesday, March 8, 2017 by Justice Idris.
It would be recalled that the former Abia Governor, Kalu, Udeh Jones Udeogu and Slok Nigeria Limited were on October 31, 2016, docked before Justice Idris by the Commission on a 34-count charge of alleged fraud to the tune of N3.2bn

Author: News Editor

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