By Onozure Dania
LAGOS—THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, yesterday urged Justice Rilwan Mohammed Aikawa of a Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos to admit the account statement of a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, at Zenith Bank Plc, as an exhibit.
EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, made the request during the examination-in-chief of a compliance officer with the bank, Teslim Ajuwon, at the ongoing trial of former Aviation Minister, Fani-Kayode and three others over alleged N4.6 billion fraud.
Ajuwon while testifying before the court said, upon a request, for the former minister’s statement of account at Zenith Bank Plc, it was forwarded to the anti-graft agency.
The witness while narrating how the statement was generated, said: “When the request was received, it was sent to the Information Technology Department then the statement would 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 authentication was produced and signed accordingly”
Oyedepo, then sought the admittance of the defendant’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.
Quakers further argued that the document cOULD not 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.
While responding, the anti-graft ’s lawyer, Oyedepo, said the objections of the learned silk are misconceived and not supported with the provisions of 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 5 to 15 of the charge”, Oyedepo said.
After listening to the submissions of parties in the matter, Justice Aikawa adjourned the case to December 5 for ruling on the document’s admissibility and continuation of trial.
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