Court okays EFCC’s prayer for testimony against Nyako by video
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has granted the request by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for its witness in the Diaspora to testify through video link in the ongoing trial of former Adamawa State governor, Murtala Nyako, and seven others.
They are being prosecuted for alleged money laundering perpetrated while Nyako was governor.
Other defendants in the 37-count charge alongside the former governor are Zulkifik Abba, Abubakar Aliyu and four companies: Blue Opal Limited, Pagoda Fortunes Ltd, Tower Assets Management Limited and Crust Energy Limited.
Justice Abang had on Tuesday, October 29, reserved ruling till Wednesday, October 30, on the application by EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), seeking the permission of the court for his witness to testify via video link.
Jacobs had told the court that all efforts made by the anti-graft agency to get the witness to testify before the court in person failed, citing health and security concerns.
The trial judge, while noting that the request was novel, said, “I intend to carefully conserve the statutory provisions cited by learned counsel representing the parties before the court takes a decision on the issue”
Ruling on the application on Wednesday, Abang stated that it was not too much a sacrifice to grant the application, stressing that the prosecution had been diligent and the defence, as well, since the commencement of the matter.
He adjourned till November 5, 2019, for the continuation of trial.
Also, Justice Abang has admitted more documents the prosecution in evidence in its case against a former governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, and his erstwhile Commissioner of Finance, Omodachi Okolobia.
The EFCC is prosecuting Suswam and Okolobia on nine-counts bordering on money laundering and diversion of funds to the tune of N3.1 billion.
Abang admitted the documents after ruling out the objection by defence, which he said lacked merit.
Commenting on one of the documents, dated September 12, 2014, is a letter issued by Benue Investment and Property Company Limited (BIPC) and captioned ‘Board Resolution’, he said the document was original and that the witness had fulfilled conditions under Section 83 (I) of the Evidence Act, by having personal knowledge of the document and could be cross-examined on it.
The case was adjourned till November 4, 2019, for the continuation of trial.