Drama Over Akingbola’s Application For Recall of Witness

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(Press Release)There was mild drama on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 as former managing director of Intercontinental Bank Plc (now Access Bank), Erastus Akingbola and his co-defendant, Bayo Dada, standing trial in a N46billion theft case before Justice Habeeb Abiru of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja filed an application to recall a defence witness, Ayoola Ayinde, only to hastily withdrew it moments later.

They also failed to produce a witness they had promised to bring before the court at the last adjourned date.

At the resumed hearing on Wednesday October 10, 2012, rather than call the witness as promised, counsel to the defendants, Felix Fagbohungbe SAN informed the court that they had filed an application dated 8 October, 2012 requesting the court to recall the first defence witness, Ayoola Ayinde to come and tender documents.

Ayinde, a former staff of Intercontinental bank, had earlier testified before the court and during cross examination, mentioned that Rockson Engineering provided cash backing of 1.3 million pounds to Akingbola.

Godwin Obla, counsel to EFCC did not object to the application if recalling Ayinde would  mean that she will be able to produce the statement of account of Rockson Engineering.

Fagbohungbe then handed to the court documents contained 79 Instructions issued by Rockson Engineering to several beneficiaries. He said he wanted the court to recall Ayinde to present those documents.
Justice Abiru examined the documents and discovered that none of them had any relevance to the transaction in question. They were instructions issued to Intercontinental Bank by Rockson Engineering to effect transfer on behalf of other parties to banks in India, the Netherlands and a host of others.  He asked the defence counsel what exactly Ayinde was coming to present in the documents before him.
Obviously ruffled by the observation, Fagboungbe, referred the Judge to a document which turned out to be the instruction given by the Engineering Company to the bank to effect a transfer from their account to that of Akingbola.  When the Judge looked through, he observed that the same document had been tendered by the same witness as Exhibit D4 before the court.

“What concerns me is the transfer of the 1.3 million pounds from Rockson to the defendant. What Rockson gave to other people is irrelevant in this case. And the document you have here has been tendered before. So why do I have to recall the witness? If the document you want the witness to be re-called to tender is not already before this court, I will re-call the witness.” said the Judge.
Fagbohungbe, in a dramatic turn, pleaded with the court to withdraw his application.  Obla did not object but said the defence must produce the witness it promised before closing its case.

Fagbohungbe thereafter asked for an adjournment and Justice Abiru adjourned the case till 22 October, 2012.


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