Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 admitted in evidence some documents tendered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, against a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode.
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 the last adjourned sitting on November 21, 2017, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, through a prosecution witness, Teslim Ajuwon, an employee of Zenith Bank Plc, had sought to tender 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.
The documents, which Oyedepo had described as “extremely relevant to the issues before the court”, contain a statement of account No. 1004735721 in the name of Fani- Kayode.
But Counsel to Fani-Kayode, Norisson Quakers, SAN, however, 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.”
Quakers, who also argued that the issue of certification could not be done orally, had said: “The document did not emanate from the bank; no officer of the bank certified it.
“My Lord, the EFCC is not in any position to do the certification of the document.”
Counsel to the first defendant, Ferdinand Orbih, SAN, had also aligned himself with the arguments advanced by Quakers.
Consequently, the judge had deferred ruling on the document till today, December 5, 2017.
In his ruling today, the judge held that the statement of account emanated from Zenith Bank and that the witness had sufficiently laid the foundation in his evidence.
The judge, therefore, dismissed the objection raised by the defence for lacking in merit.
The statement of account was admitted in evidence as exhibit 7.
Giving further testimony, Ajuwon also confirmed to the court the response of Zenith Bank to the EFCC’s request for statement of account of the fourth defendant, Joint Trust Dimensions Limited, dated February 19, 2016, with the attached certificate of identification.
When the prosecution counsel sought to tender the document, counsel to the defence counsel objected to admissibility of the attached document.
However, the judge overruled the objection and admitted the document as exhibit 8.
The transaction instruments of Joint Trust Dimensions Limited dated March 7, 2016 as well as its attachment were also admitted in evidence as exhibit 9.
Led in evidence by Oyedepo, the witness named the third defendant, Danjuma, as the signatory to the account.
The witness said: “On January 8, 2015, there was an inflow of N300 million from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Research Library, which came from Mainstream Bank, to Joint Trust Dimensions.
“On January 13, 2015, there was another credit inflow of N400 million from MFA research project.
“Again, on January 16, 2015, there was a credit transfer of N800million from MFA research capital.”
Ajuwon also added that “On February 2, 2015, there was a debit of N350 million transfer to Fani Kayode.
“On February 19, 2015, there was another debit transaction of N250 million to Femi Fani-Kayode.
“On March 19, 2015, there was another transfer of N240 million to Fani-Kayode,” the witness added.
Counsel to the first defendant, Ferdinand Orbih, SAN, told the court he had a pending application before the court dated 15 November, 2017 for his client to travel abroad on health grounds.
The judge granted the first defendant’s application to travel to the United States of America, USA, for medicals.
Consequently, Justice Aikawa adjourned the matter to January 31, 2018 and February 1, 2018 for continuation of trial.