Saturday, July 20, 2024
Saturday, July 20, 2024

Court Adjourns Emefiele’s Trial Over Additional Proof of Evidence


An Ikeja Special Offences Court has adjourned the trial of the embattled former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, to May 9 over filing of additional proof of evidence served by the prosecution.

Emefiele’s was charged alongside Henry Omoile over allegation of $4.5 billion and N2.8 billion fraud brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Rahman Oshodi yesterday adjourned the trial of the defendants after taking arguments from the defendants’ counsel over additional proof of evidence of over 60 pages served on them in the morning by the prosecution.

At the resumed proceeding, the prosecution team led by Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN) told the court that the second prosecution witness was in court for the continuation of cross-examination and that he had served defence the statement of one Mr John Adetola, as an additional proof of evidence.

But the first defendant’s counsel, Olalekan Ojo (SAN) opposed continuation of trial stating that Emefiele and co-defendant have not seen the documents served on them by the prosecution, stressing that “justice rushed is justice crushed.”

Ojo who said he was constrained to ask the court to do justice, pointed out that the additional proof of evidence ought to have been served on the defence early enough.

“The law is so pedestrian that the cross examination of witness is not limited or confined to documents of witness alone. In the spirit of fair play, Emefiele is entitled to have a look at the bulky documents of over 60 pages served on us this morning.

“If it was filed yesterday, we could have burnt candle to go through it. The defendant has not seen it. Defence may find anything useful in the additional proof of evidence of over 60 pages to cross-examine the witness in the box.

“I humbly urge the court to adjourn this matter so that I can thoroughly go through it and study it.”

The second defence counsel, Mr Adeyinka Kotoye (SAN), in his submission, aligned himself with the first defence counsel.

Kotoye argued that it was only in this part of the world that prosecution would be conducting investigation while case was already on-going in court.

He urged the court to adjourn the case in the interest of justice and to enable them to have adequate opportunity to study the additional proof of evidence.

Kotoye said the additional proof of evidence served on them by the prosecution yesterday morning was an ambush.

He urged the court not to entertain ‘trial by ambush’ and put a stop to it.

“I also apply to your Lordship to mandate the prosecution to supply us all relevant materials. In the spirit of fairness, I urge your Lordship to adjourn the case,” Kotoye said.

But the prosecution counsel, Oyedepo, vehemently objected to the request for an adjournment by the defendants.

Oyedepo argued that the two senior advocate defence counsels, whom he held in high esteem, were unfair in their submissions and for describing his team and its activities as “prosecutorial unfairness.”

He told court that one Adetola, listed as the 5th prosecution witness in the proof of evidence, was contained in volume two of what was served on defence on April 4.

He said: “In preparation for his testimony that will be coming up, not today, not even on May 9, the prosecution, rather than wait for defence to formally place a demand on us on what is in the device, diligence prosecution made me make the device available to defence.

“My lord, how does that amount to prosecutorial unfairness?

“I plead with defence not to delay this case unnecessarily as we have a witness in the box who had given evidence, and he is being cross-examined by the first defence counsel.

“If defence is angry that I served them the proof of evidence today, we can withdraw it and serve same at a later day.”

The prosecution told the court that the society is interested and watching the proceeding of the case.

“The society is interested. They are watching us that will this matter be adjourned based on the evidence of another man who is not the witness in the box?

“We are not rushing or crushing justice, rather, we are aiding the oil of justice to rise steadily.

“Expeditious determination of cases is of utmost importance and so we urge your lordship to allow the cross-examination.” Oyedepo said.

In his ruling, Justice Oshodi, said he had considered the submissions of both the parties, and he was satisfied with the reasons given by defence for adjournment.

“I have considered the conflicting submissions regarding whether I should adjourn for further continuation of trial.

“I am satisfied with the reasons given by defence.

“For the adjournment sought, I grant it. I adjourn to May 9, 2024, for continuation of trial.”


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