HomeNEWSCourt Grants Defence Request to Recall First Prosecution Witness in Emefiele Trial

Court Grants Defence Request to Recall First Prosecution Witness in Emefiele Trial

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WhatsApp Image 2024 05 19 at 4.22.24 PM

Afor Kenneth:

The Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has granted the defence team’s request to recall the first prosecution witness in the trial of former Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele over allegations of abuse of office.

Justice Rahman Oshodi granted the request at the instance of counsel to Emefiele’s co-defendant, Kazeem Gbadamosi (SAN).

Gbadamosi had informed the judge about his application dated May 6 and sought the court’s permission to recall the first prosecution witness, Monday Osazuwa.

On April 12, Osazuwa, a staff of the CBN, had testified in court about how the former governor allegedly directed him on different occasions to collect three million dollars in cash in tranches.

Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), raised no objections to the request.

In granting the application, Justice Oshodi said, “In the motion on notice dated May 6 and filed on May 7, the second defence counsel seeks an order to recall the first prosecution witness (PW1)

“The second defence counsel seeks to further cross-examine PWI on matters listed in paragraph 4 D of the affidavit in support of the application.

“The recall was also premised on nine grounds, and the six-paragraph affidavits were filed in support of the application and equally is a written address filed on May 7. The prosecution did not file a rebuttal, and I hereby grant the application.”

Afterward, the EFCC counsel sought the court’s permission to continue examining the fourth prosecution witness, Clement Onyejiuwa, a contractor, who had started his evidence in chief on May 9.

Continuing his testimony, Onyejiuwa informed the court that there was an error in his extra-judicial statement regarding the location where the $600,000 was given to the second prosecution witness, former Director of Information Technology of CBN, John Ayoh. He clarified that $400,000 was given to Ayoh in Lagos, while $200,000 was given to him in Abuja.

During cross-examination by Emefiele’s counsel, Olalekan Ojo (SAN), Onyejiuwa stated that he had written the statement in the presence of his lawyer, Olukayode Enitan (SAN), but had become aware of the error later. He confirmed to the court that there were only two errors in his statement and that he was released to his lawyer after writing the extra-judicial statement.

“Apart from the two errors, there are no other errors in my statement, but there are omissions because I wrote 2014 to 2018 instead of 2014 to 2020,” he said.

“As a businessman with over 20 years of experience, I know I have a civic duty not to give bribe to anybody and I know that I have duties to report anyone that demands a bribe but I did not report because I was under serious pressure from my partners to pay them.”

The witness also informed the court that he did not consider what happened as him offering a bribe; instead, he stated that he was extorted.

He said, “I did not pay a bribe, it was extortion. I was paid the money in December 2018. Sometime after I had paid the monies demanded by the management through John Ayoh, and upon receiving the money, I paid my partners and they stopped putting pressure on me.”

When asked if he reported to the authorities when the pressure had ceased he said, “Although between 2018 and 2024, when the pressure had gone, I did not report the issue of bribe to EFCC, because it was extortion and that is why I asked whether it was possible for the court to help me recover it.”

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