Court admits dead man’s statement in Fayose’s trial

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Adjourns Usoro’s till April 17
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has admitted in evidence a statement made by the late Justin Erukaa, before his death, in the ongoing N2.2 billion fraud trial of former Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose.

Erukaa was personal assistant to Musiliu Obanikoro, who is testifying against the former governor.

In a short ruling yesterday, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun admitted Erukaa’s statement and marked it as Exhibit J.

The second defence counsel, Mr. Olalekan Ojo (SAN), had at the previous hearing tendered the statement Erukaa made to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the course of investigating the matter.

Ojo said Erukaa’s statement was relevant to the case, adding that it could be admitted in the absence of the deceased.

“In law, the first litmus test of admissibility is relevance. Obanikoro said in his testimony that he sent Erukaa on errands, including to collect $1 million and he came and met him in Ekiti,” Ojo had told the court.

After the judge had admitted Erukaa’s statement in evidence, the case proceeded with further cross-examination of Obanikoro, the fifth witness, to testify for the EFCC against Fayose.

While fielding questions from Ahmed Tafa, who stood in for Ojo, Obanikoro reiterated that he was into farming, with his farms in Lagos, Badagry and Ogun State.

He also claimed that MOB Integrated Limited is his son’s company.

When asked by Tafa if he knew that staff of MOB Integrated Limited were signatories to the bank account of Sylvan Mcmanara Ltd, Fayose’s co-accused, Obanikoro said, “I don’t know what you are talking about.”

Hearing on the case continues today.

Meanwhile, Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Lagos, yesterday adjourned trial of the president of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Paul Usoro (SAN), till April 17, 2019 for hearing of three pending applications.

Usoro, through his lead counsel, Ife Adedipe (SAN), argued that “the defence is entitled by law to be given a summary of the statements of those listed to give evidence in the matter before the trial can proceed.

But the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, objected to the argument and said that the summary of the witnesses’ statement were already frontloaded, urging the court to proceed with trial.

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