The trial of the former governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, was again stalled on Thursday, following the failure of Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, the prosecution witness, to appear before the court today, citing health condition as his reason for his absence.
Not satisfied with Obanikoro’s excuse which was made known to the judge by the counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, however, threatened to jail Sen. Obanikoro if he fails to appear in court in the next sitting.
According to the judge, Obanikoro would be forced to appear in court in a Black Maria if he fails to appear in court and if it turns out his health claims are forged.
The EFCC’s counsel had presented to the judge a medical document claiming the Senator is hospitalised.
But Justice Olatoregun warned that the doctor that issued the health documents would lose his or her license, if the court verifies and finds out that the claim is false.
The judge, however, adjourned the case till March 18 with a warning to Senator Obanikoro to appear in court that day or “… he can be coming to court in Black Maria.”
The judge also said that, “He must present himself before the court on the next adjourned date or be compelled to do so.”
It would be recalled that the trial of former Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose for money laundering was stalled yesterday at the Federal High Court in Lagos.
A court registrar said the trial, billed to continue yesterday, would resume today instead.
It was learnt that Justice Mojisola Olatoregun was away on another official assignment.
The case was adjourned on Tuesday for continuation of former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro’s cross-examination.
Defence lawyer Olalekan Ojo (SAN) had sought to tender a statement by Justin Erukaa at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
EFCC lawyer Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) opposed the tendering of the statement on the ground that it was not made by Obanikoro, who was being cross-examined.
He said Obanikoro could not be questioned on it.
But Ojo said he did not intend to cross-examine Obanikoro on the statement but that it was important to the defence.
Justice Olatoregun directed the counsel to address her on the admissibility of a statement by a person interrogated in the course of an investigation but who is not giving evidence.
She was to rule on the statement’s admissibility after being addressed by counsel, but her absence stalled it.
Source: Vanguard/The Nation
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