The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has asked Justice Rilwan Mohammed Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Lagos, to admit the account statement of a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, at Zenith Bank Plc, as an exhibit.
EFCC made the application through it counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, at the ongoing trial of Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of State for Finance, Mrs. Esther Nenadi Usman, one, Danjuma Yusuf and a company, John Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited, over alleged N4.6 billion fraud
The anti-graft agency had, on May 15, re-arraigned the accused before the judge, on a 17-count charge.
Oyedepo made the request, on Tuesday, during the examination-in-chief of a compliance officer with the bank, Tosin Owobo, at the on-going trial of Fani-Kayode and three others over alleged fraud.
Owobo had in his testimony told the court that upon a request, the former minister’s statement of account at Zenith Bank Plc was forwarded to the anti-graft agency.
Narrating how the statement was generated, the witness said: “When the request was received, it was sent to the Information Technology Department and it will be printed in the presence of a compliance officer.
“The printed statement was then compared with entries in the bank’s computer system. Afterwards, a certificate of identification was produced and signed accordingly”
EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, then sought the admittance of the accused person’s statement of account number, 1004735721, in the name of Femi Fani-Kayode, which contained entries from January 22, 2015 to July 31, 2015, as an exhibit by the court.
However, in his objection to the admissibility of the document, Fani-Kayode’s lawyer, Norrison Quakers (SAN), said it did not comply with the provisions of Section 89 (H) and 90 (E) (1-IV) of the Evidence Act.
The accused ‘ s counsel further argued that the document cannot be said to have emanated from the bank because none of its officers had certified it. He added that the EFCC is in no position to do the verification of the document.
Responding, EFCC’s lawyer, Oyedepo, said the objections of Fani-Kayode lawyer misconceived and not supported with the provisions Section 89 (H) and 90 (E) (1-IV) of the Evidence Act as well as the evidence on oath of the witness.
He was of the view that the certification that was contemplated for the admissibility of a bankers’ book must either be given orally or through affidavit by an officer of the bank.
“The witness, orally and on oath, had certified the document. He needs not put his designation. The document is extremely relevant to the charge before the court, particularly, with regards to counts 1 to 15 of the charge”, Oyedepo said.
After listening to the submissions of parties in the matter, Justice Aikawa adjourned to December 5 for ruling on the document’s admissibility and continuation of trial.