Emefiele’s fraud trial adjourned until May 9 as EFCC files additional evidence

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On Friday, the Ikeja Special Offences Court adjourned until May 9 for the defence to study additional proof of evidence submitted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele.

Mr Emefiele was charged with $4.5 billion and N2.8 billion fraud.

In his short ruling, Justice Rahman Oshodi said he had considered the submissions of both parties and was satisfied with the defence’s reasons for the adjournment.

“I have considered the conflicting submissions regarding whether I should adjourn for further continuation of trial or not.

“I grant the adjournment sought. I adjourn until May 9 for the continuation of the trial,” said Mr Rahman.

Earlier, Olalekan Ojo (SAN), counsel for the ex-CBN governor, had informed the court that the prosecution had filed an additional proof of evidence and he needed enough time to go through it.

Mr Ojo argued that Mr Emefiele had not seen the document and that justice rushed was justice crushed.

“I am constrained at this point to ask your lordship to do justice; the proof must be served early enough, but I was being served this morning.

“Defence may find anything useful in the additional proof of evidence to cross-examine the witness in the box.

“I humbly urge the court to adjourn this matter so that I can thoroughly go through it and study it,” he said.

The second defence counsel, Adeyinka Kotoye (SAN), also aligned himself with the submission of the first defence counsel.

He, therefore, urged the court to adjourn the case in the interest of justice and adequate opportunity to study the additional proof of evidence.

“I urge your lordship not to entertain this trial by ambush and put a stop to it.

“I also apply your lordship mandate for the prosecution to supply us with all relevant materials.

“Therefore, on the spirit of fairness, I urge your lordship to adjourn the case,” Mr Kotoye said.

The EFCC counsel, led by Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), informed the court that the second prosecution witness was in court for the continuation of cross-examination and that he had served the defence of the statement of John Adetola as additional proof of evidence.

Mr Oyedepo, while opposing the submissions of the defence counsel, had prayed the court for the continuation of the cross-examination of the second prosecution witness.

He said it was unfair for a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, whom he held in high esteem, to describe his team and its activities as prosecutorial unfairness.

According to him, Mr Adetola was a fifth prosecution witness in the proof of evidence.

Mr Oyedepo said Mr Adetola’s statement was contained in the Volume Two of what was served on defence on April 4.

He said: “In preparation for his testimony that will be coming up not today, not even on May 9, the prosecution, rather than wait for the defence to formally place a demand on us on what is in the device, diligence prosecution made me make the device available to the defence.

“My lord, how does that amount to prosecutorial unfairness?

“I plead with the defence not to delay this case unnecessarily as we have a witness in the box who had given evidence, and the first defence counsel is cross-examining him.

“If the defence is angry that I served them the proof of evidence today, we can withdraw it and serve the same on a later day,” said Mr Oyedepo.

The prosecution told the court that society was interested in watching the case proceedings.

On April 29, John Ayoh, a former director of information technology at the Apex Bank, narrated how he allegedly collected $600,000 for contract gratification for Mr Emefiele.

On April 8, the EFCC arraigned Mr Emefiele on 23 counts bordering on abuse of office, accepting gratifications, corrupt demand, receiving property fraudulently obtained, and conferring corrupt advantage.

Also, his co-defendant was arraigned on three counts bordering on acceptance of gift by agents. 


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