EFCC Vs Daniel: My Life was Never Threatened Says Witness

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Babajide Adeluola, the prosecution witness in the trial of the former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has denied that he told the lawyer representing Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) that his life was threatened. The EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs had told the court that his witness’ life was threatened and would not be available at the court to testify against the former Governor who was alleged to have mis-appropriated the money of the State in the sum of 200 Million naira.

EFCC had accused Daniel of embezzling 56billion naira when he was serving as the Governor of Ogun State between 2003 and 2011. The charges which couldn’t be proved by the counsel to the EFCC was later reduced to 200Million naira which is a far cry from the earlier accusation. This has further fuelled the insinuation that the former Governor was going through a “political” trial.

However, the principal witness who appeared in court today to confirm some of the account purportedly used by Daniel’s company, Blue chapel in the diversion of Ogun State funds denied the allegation of threats. He said he could not make the earlier court sittings because he was sick.

During cross  examination the witness pointed out the contradictions in the two bank statements one supplied by the EFCC and the other obtained from the proof of evidence by the defense.

The prosecution witness admitted that there were contradictions in the two copies of the Skye Bank statement of accounts belonging to Blue Chapel Company Ltd tendered as Exhibit 1 and 2 before the court. For instance while in the exhibit one supplied by the EFCC an entry of N12.5 Million was recorded in the accounts of the Blue Chapel Limited , there was no such entry in the same account as contained in exhibit 2 which was extracted from the proof of evidence also supplied by the EFCC. About six of such contradictions were pointed out. While explaining the contradictions the witness said one of the accounts was incomplete.

Counsel to the Daniel Professor Taiwo Osipitan, however, objected to the EFCC counsel’s re-examination of the witness on the basis of the observed contradictions.

Citing Section 215 (3) of the Evidence Act, the defence counsel argued that since the contract had been reduced to writing, its content could not be altered through oral evidence.

He also contended that Adeluola was not competent to give evidence on the documents because he was not in the employment of Skye Bank in 2005 when the account was being operated.

But Jacobs objected to Osipitan’s submission, citing Section 130 (1) of the new Evidence Act.

The EFCC counsel stressed that the section cited was not applicable to criminal cases.

Ruling, Justice Mabekoje overruled Osipitan on the grounds that the section of the Evidence Act he cited was not relevant to the case because of its criminal nature.

Osipitan, at the end of the proceedings, said  that the judge would determine the weight to be attached to the exhibits because of the apparent contradictions in them. He said if there were any loopholes in the two exhibits, the prosecution  counsel brought it about by supplying incomplete evidence.

Justice Mabekoje ordered that the police should make their findings available to the court through Certified True Copy (CTC).

“In order not to cause unnecessary delay to this case, no further questions shall be entertained from the prosecution and defence as to the allegation of threat to life by the witness on May 7,” he ordered.

Justice Mabekoje later adjourned the case till July 9 for further hearing following the submission of the EFCC’s counsel that the three witnesses expected to testify did not come to court. He said they left the court in annoyance on the last adjourned date following their inability to testify. Osipitan thanked Jacobs for attributing the inability of the witnesses to come to court to annoyance and for not raising another allegation of threat to life.

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