Court rejects EFCC’s plea to play video against ex-NNPC GMD
The Federal High Court Abuja on Wednesday rejected the application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to play the content of Exhibits M, N, and N1 in the trial against the former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed, while delivering the ruling, held that only the maker of a document could be cross-examined on the content of a document.
Justice Mohammed said allowing that would negate the precedence before the court. Hence, Yakubu cannot give evidence on the content of the videos since he was not the maker.
The court held that the EFCC could not play the content of the documents during his cross-examination as prayed.
Guardian reports that the EFCC’s counsel had sought the court’s permission to display the content of a memory card and compact disc that were marked as Exhibits M, N, and N1 in the court’s record respectively.
He had made this application while he was about to cross-examine Yakubu at the last adjourned date.
Justice Mohammed consequently declined on the matter when it came up on Wednesday
The prosecution counsel, Farouk Abdullah, while he was about to proceed with the cross-examination of the first defence witness, Andrew Yakubu, drew the court’s attention to a pending application that he sought to move before the court.
The application that was dated June 18, 2021, and filed June 25, 20,21 was to the effect that the Prosecution was praying for leave of the court to recall two of the prosecution witnesses.
Counsel to Yakubu, Ahmed Raji (SAN), objected to it stating that it was strange to bring a scan application in the middle of a cross-examination.
He said “It is strange to interrupt a cross-examination with an application that has nothing to do with the witness in the box. I urge my lord to direct him to finish cross-examination, then we can now move to other ancillary matters,”
He stated that it would set a dangerous precedent and urged the court to defer the hearing of the application until the evidence of Yakubu, the DW 1 has been concluded.
In response, the prosecution lawyer stated that “It is correct that the application sought to be moved may not have a direct impact on DW 1. However, it is the prosecution’s prayer that since there is a pending application before the court, it should be taken in the probable cause that the court grants the application of the prosecution, the court has the discretion to direct the prosecution to recall the witnesses when it is deemed expedient.”
The court deferred the application to recall witnesses and ruled that the cross-examination of DW 1 should continue.
Justice Mohammed noted that allowing the application to recall witnesses during the cross-examination would make things untidy.