Trial stalled over 11.5bn suit against Akala, 2 others

THE Oyo State High Court, sitting in Iyaganku Ibadan, in the ongoing case instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State and two others in an alleged 11.5bn fraud has again been adjourned till October 25, 2018 for further hearing.

At the commencement of trial, as ordered by Justice Muniru Owolabi at the last sitting, counsel to EFCC, Dr B. Ubi, told the court he had two witnesses who were at hand to give evidence against the defendants.

The first prosecution witness, Tahiru Usman, an Assistant Commissioner of Police presently serving on the Presidential Special Investigation Panel on secondment, said he was a Chief Superintendent of Police seconded to EFCC as of 2010, when EFCC received various petitions, particularly on the activities of the state government.

He said, as a member of the task force set up by the commission to investigate such allegations, he and his team were saddled with analyzing the various petitions against the Oyo State government at the time.

He said he and his team conducted discreet investigations to ascertain the veracity of such allegations after which they were further directed to investigate the allegations contained in the petitions, as well as ascertain the authenticity of his signature on one of the petitions received by the EFCC and that he and his team submitted their investigation report on which the prosecution sought to tender in court as proof of evidence.

Objecting to the leave of court sought by the EFCC counsel to tender the petition as evidence against the accused, counsels to the defendants premised his position on the failure of the prosecution to front load Certified True Copies (CTO) of the petitions and other necessary documents to the defense team and the trial judge before commencement of trial.

The defence further argued that the petition in contention, allegedly written by The Concerned Senior Staff Association of Oyo State Local Government Staff sought to be tendered, ought to have been included in the list of documents to be listed in the proof of evidence served on the defence team before it could be deemed admissible as proof of evidence in court, and urged the court to overrule the application of EFCC.

Admitting the in-admissibility of the document as objected to by counsels for the defendants based on technical grounds, Dr Ubi applied to withdraw the document and sought the leave of court to ask his witness to step down to an adjourned date, pending when he would be able to retrieve all necessary documents from the former prosecutor, Chief Godwin Obla, who he said did not hand over to him all documents relating to the case.

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