The trial of the immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Fayose was brought to a stand still on Thursday when Senator Musiliu Obanikoro the main prosecution witness failed to show up in court because of an health condition.
Not satisfied with Obanikoro’s excuse which was made known to the judge by the counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, however, threatened to jail Sen. Obanikoro if he fails to appear in court in the next sitting. According to the judge, Obanikoro would be forced to appear in court in a Black Maria if he fails to appear in court and if it turns out his health claims are forged.
The EFCC’s counsel had presented to the judge a medical document claiming the Senator is hospitalised. But Justice Olatoregun warned that the doctor that issued the health documents would lose his or her license, if the court verifies and finds out that the claim is false. The judge, however, adjourned the case till March 18 with a warning to Senator Obanikoro to appear in court that day or “… he can be coming to court in Black Maria.” The judge also said that, “He must present himself before the court on the next adjourned date or be compelled to do so.”
It will be recalled that Musiliu Obanikoro, a former Minister of State for Defence, has admitted before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos that he was been investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for being privy to illicit transfer of funds.Obanikoro made the statement on Tuesday while giving evidence in the criminal trial of Ayodele Fayose, the immediate past Governor of Ekiti State.Fayose was arraigned by EFCC on October 22, 2018, alongside a company, Spotless Investment Limited, on an 11-count charge bordering on fraud.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charges, and the court had granted him bail in the sum of N50million with one surety in like sum.Trial had commenced on November 19, 2018, with the EFCC calling four witnesses, while the court had then adjourned for continuation of trial.At the resumed hearing on the matter on Tuesday, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) appeared for the EFCC, while Messrs Ola Olanipekun (SAN) and Olalekan Ojo (SAN) represented the first and second defendants, respectively.Obanikoro, the fifth prosecution witness who began giving his evidence on January 21, and was cross-examined on February 4, mounted the witness box in continuation of his cross-examination.
During cross-examination by Ojo, Obanikoro told the court that during his tenure as Commissioner in Lagos in charge of Home Affairs and Culture, he had interfaced with various security agencies in the discharge of his duties.According to him, he had sourced for a security outfit known as Silva Mcnamara, owned by one Kareem Taiwo, to the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), when the need arose to provide for security operations in Lagos State. He said the outfit performed credibly.Ojo then asked the witness: “You said Kareem Taiwo did a good job,” to which Obanikoro replied: “Yes”.
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