Saturday, 3rd June 2023

Ekweremadu: Jury may be out today

By Tunde Oyedoyin, London
20 March 2023   |   4:13 am
The jury at the ongoing “conspiracy to facilitate and arrange travel with the aim of exploitation “ trial of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Mrs. Beatrice, his wife, Sonia, their daughter and Dr Obinna Obeta...

[FILES] Ike Ekweremadu and wife, Beatrice Ekweremadu<br />PHOTO: nairametrics

The jury at the ongoing “conspiracy to facilitate and arrange travel with the aim of exploitation “ trial of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Mrs. Beatrice, his wife, Sonia, their daughter and Dr Obinna Obeta, could be sent out before the end of court proceedings on Monday, when the judge finishes his summing up.

But that is if he’s able to complete giving legal directions. If he doesn’t finish giving legal directions on Monday, then, they’ll be sent out on Tuesday.

Before sending the jury out on Friday, Justice Johnson picked up from where he stopped on Wednesday by continuing with his two-part summing up .”You have a hard job ahead of you next week,” he told the jurors. Though he urged them to “go enjoy your weekend and come fresh on Monday,” he did remind them that there should be “no looking up of the case on the Internet. No discussion with anybody else” and that: ”it’s the 12 of you that matter.”

Prior to getting to send them out for almost certainly what was their last Friday sitting of the high profile trial, the three defence barristers made their closing statements.

Anu Mohindru, KC, for Mrs. Beatrice Ekweremadu, urged the jurors to “please not fall into the trap that the prosecution” had set by speculating. “They want you to speculate,” noting, this was because the evidence of the prosecution doesn’t add up. He said, there’s: ”no communication outlining payment to a donor was forwarded to her.” Furthermore, he told the jury, :we say that the prosecution has failed to prove that Beatrice facilitated and arranged the travel of David Nwamini in this case.”

He also told them: ”Beatrice Ekweremadu did not arrange or facilitate David’s travel.” He noted that being the “first prosecution of this type, someone needs to be blamed, says the prosecution.” He warned them not to fall into the trap.

Addressing the issue of lying that Nwamini is a maternal cousin of Sonia, her daughter, Mohindru argued that though the Senator’s wife had lied, he reiterated what she said in her testimony. “It was a message from Diwe-Ekweremadu-on February 8th” last year. Aside agreeing she was just tagging along, Mohindru noted that though “she told a lie to a doctor who readily agreed,” that, “is not exploitation of David.” Moreover, he told the jury: ”lie to make a donation does not mean there’s a conspiracy.”

Before Mohindru, Sonia’s barrister, John Femi Ola, KC, had, in his own closing, reminded them what the Crown Prosecutor, Hugh Davies, KC, had said in closing on Wednesday, about being the first of it’s kind and the need to send out a message for others to learn. Ola said to the jurors, “for centuries, jurors in this country will not be bullied into submission by the prosecution.”

On the false affidavit claiming Sonia and Nwamini are cousins, the barrister said: “it was not submitted with David’s application to come to the United Kingdom.”

Ola also argued on the ‘exploitation’ strand of the crown’s case, saying; ”there’s no evidence anywhere in the master schedule that Sonia made an arrangement to compensate anyone.”

Archbishop Akinwale said, “You are an epitome of excellence, a good and visionary leader. We, the Christians in this country are very proud of you. We celebrate you; you are a man of great humility and a pastor to the core. Thank you for coming to honour God on this day. When I visited you, you promised that you would be here. You are a nobleman, a man of intellect. May the Lord God continue to bless you and may your days be long.

“I pray for you that under your watch, this country will not disintegrate. Under your watch, the Lord will preserve this country to be greater and better, regardless of the current challenges.”

Other dignitaries present at the service besides the Prelate of the Methodist Church in Nigeria, His Eminence, Oliver Abba, were the former Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan; former Prelates of the Methodist Church in Nigeria; Dr Samuel Kanu-Uche, Sunday Makinde, among other bishops and other members of the clergy.
June 18, 2023, despite the devastating effects of the earthquake.