Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Tuesday, November 21, 2017 adjourned further hearing in a N4.9billon fraud case involving a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, to December 5, 2017.
Fani-Kayode is standing trial alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Senator Nenadi Usman, Danjuma Yusuf and a company, Joint Trust Dimensions Limited, on a 17-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N4.9billion.
At today’s sitting, a prosecution witness, Teslim Ajuwon, an employee of Zenith Bank Plc, told the court how he received a letter from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, requesting for the account opening documentation, certificate of identification and statement of account of the second defendant, Fani-Kayode, who is one of the bank’s customers.
He also told the court that following receipt of the letter on March, 2016, he forwarded the required documents, which were duly signed by him, to the EFCC.
Consequently, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, sought to tender in evidence the letter received from Zenith Bank dated March, 24 2016 as well a statement of account No. 1004735721 in the name of Fani- Kayode.
The document, which Oyedepo described as “extremely relevant to the issues before the court”, contains the entries from January 22 to July 31, 2015.
Oyedepo, therefore, urged the court to admit the documents as evidence, adding that the witness had complied with all the necessary provisions in law.
However, Norisson Quakers, SAN, counsel to Fani-Kayode, objected to the admissibility of the statement of account, saying, “The prosecution did not comply with the provision of Section 90(1) of Evidence Act.”
He also argued that the issue of certification could not be done orally.
“It did not emanate from the bank; no officer of the bank had certified it. My Lord, the EFCC is not in any position to do the certification of the documents,” he added.
He, therefore, urged the court not to admit it as evidence on the grounds that it lacks merit and violates Section 104 of Evidence Act.
Also, counsel to the first defendant, Chief Ferdinand Orbih, SAN, aligned himself with the arguments advanced by Quakers.
He said: “My Lord, I urge you to mark the document as rejected.”
Giving further testimony, the witness, who works as compliance officer with the bank, told the court that the account was generated upon request by the EFCC.
He said: “The request was sent to the Information Technology Department and the statements were printed out in my presence.
“The statements were compared with the entries in the bank’s computer system.
“The certification was done by me, and I signed the certificate of identification.”
Justice Aikawa adjourned the case to December 5, 2017 for ruling on the documents and continuation of hearing.