EFCC vs Daniel: I was not threatened – Bank official tells court

Adeluola Babajide, an official of the Skye Bank and a witness in the ongoing trial of Otunba Gbenga Daniel, former governor of Ogun State has debunked claims by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, that he stayed away from the court on June 5 as a result of threat to his life. Babajide, who was in court on Friday June 29th, told the court that he could not come to court on the last adjourned date of June 5th 2012 due to illness. Babajide was replying to questions from the lead defense counsel, Professor Taiwo Oshipitan who wanted him to throw light on the claims by EFCC prosecutors about threat to his life. Rotimi Jacob, EFCC lead counsel, had alleged on June 5   that Babajide  had refused all entreaties by the prosecution to bring him to court to continue with his testimony.  He said the Bank official chose to stay away due to threat to his life after the last hearing.

Answering questions from Oshipitan, Babajide stated categorically that he was not in court on the last adjourned date because he was sick. He also told the court presided over by Justice Olanrewaju Mabekoje that he had not been threatened in any way since he gave evidence in the case.  However Justice Mabekoje referred the allegation made by the EFCC to the police for investigation.  Tayo Oyetubo another counsel of the former Governor had during the last hearing urged the court not to sweep the allegation under the carpet saying the Investigating Police Officer who told the prosecution about the alleged threat should be invited for questioning. The judge said with the referral of the allegation to the police all inquiries on it should cease in the court.

Thereafter Babajide was cross examined by Professor Oshipitan. During cross examination the witness pointed out the contradictions in the two bank statements one supplied by the EFCC

and the other obtained from the proof of evidence by the defense. For instance while in the exhibit one supplied by the EFCC an entry of N12.5 Million was recorded in the accounts of the Blue Chapel Limited , there was no such entry in the same account as contained in exhibit 2 which was extracted from the proof of evidence also supplied by the EFCC.  About six of such contradictions were pointed out.

While explaining the contradictions the witness said one of the accounts was incomplete. Professor Oshipitan said at the end of the proceedings that the judge will determine the weight to be attached to the exhibits because of the apparent contradictions in them. He said if there were any loopholes in the two exhibits, the prosecution brought it about by supplying incomplete evidence.

Justice Mabekoje had to adjourn the case till July 9 for further hearing following the submission of Jacob that the three witnesses expected to testify did not come to court. He said they left the court in annoyance on the last adjourned date following their inability to testify. Professor Oshipitan thanked the prosecution for attributing the inability of the witnesses to come to court to annoyance   and for not raising another allegation of threat to life.