- As witnesses refused to show up in court
An Abeokuta High Court sitting in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital has rejected an application seeking the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to stop its prosecution case on the eswhile Governor of the state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel.
The lawyer to the Gbenga Daniel, Titilayo Akinlawon (SAN) who moved the application said it became mandatory for the anti-graft agency to halt the prosecution due to the refusal of EFCC witnesses to appear in court.
At third sitting running, the three remaining witnesses said to be the State government’s official were absent at the court inspite the pretrial meeting with them.
Recalled that at the last adjournment date for the case, Justice Olanrewaju Mabekoje had threatened to force the anti-graft agency to close its case for the refusal of the EFCC’s remaining witnesses to show up at the court .
Lawyer to EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) at the resumed hearing yesterday told the court that he did not know that the case would come up at the last adjourned date due to the strike action embarked upon by the state’s organized labour.
Jocob, speaking on the witnesses told the court that they had contacted the witnesses who said that they were waiting for the state’s government directive before appearing at the court.
He expressed further the Head of Service in the state, Elder Olusola Adeyemi was contacted , but directed the team to meet Barrister Taiwo Adeoluwa, the Secretary to the State Government.
According to him”We contacted them to inquire on the reasons why they are not in court and to our surprise, they said they needed the approval of state government to come and give evidence in court.
“EFCC has also made efforts to contact the Head of Service and he has directed us to the Secretary to the state government. We are yet to get the approval as at last night, this is a clear departure from earlier arrangement.
“We have called 15 witnesses that are officials of Ogun State government with their full support and without any conditionality but we are surprised by the sudden turn of event.”
Responding, Akinlawon noted she had a adjourned date, praying the court to instruct the prosecutor to close its case in as mush as it did not show up in the or present any witness.
She said, “I now make the application that in as much as the prosecution is not ready to proceed on the hearing of this matter, I hereby apply that the case of the prosecution be closed.
“This is a matter that has commenced five years ago and the prosecution is still looking for witnesses, litigation is not an open ended game, there must always be an end and I submit that his is the end of the prosecution case.”
Jacobs further stated the defence counsel did not do proper consideration on the application , saying it was made in bad fate .
While delivering his judgement Justice Mabekoje said after serous consideration on the reasons presented by the prosecution lawyer he was compelled to further adjourned the matter till 16th and 20th of December.
He said would refuse to grant any other adjournment on the case at the instance of the prosecution.