Justice A. A. Okeke of the Federal High Court sitting in Lafia, Nasarawa State, on Wednesday, March 9, 2016 upheld the objection of the prosecution counsel, Femi Pinheiro, SAN, to the prayer of the defence counsel, Olalekan Ojo, seeking to tender a document titled ‘‘Annual Report in the Office of the Accountant-General of  Nasarrawa State of December 31, 2007-2011’’ , during the cross-examination of a prosecution witness, Solomo Katsa,  a former director of finance in the administration of ex-governor, Aliyu Akwe Doma.

Former Nasarawa State Governor Aliyu Akwe Doma
 
Akwe Doma alongside Timothy Anjide and Dauda Egwa, a former Accountant-General are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a 10-count charge bordering on money laundering and financial crimes.
                          
The accused persons, between January, 2007 and December, 2009, allegedly conspired and fraudulently laundered state funds to tune of  N8bn, an offence contrary to section 14(1)(a) of the Money Laundering  (Prohibition) Act 2004 and punishable under section 14(1) of the same Act.
 
At the last adjourned date on Wednesday, February 10, 2016, the prosecution had told the court that tendering of a document, during cross-examination of the witness, implied that the defence counsel wanted to contradict or discredit the statement of the prosecution witness.
 Phinhero further argued that the document could only be admitted if it emanated from the witness.
 
Delivering her ruling today, Justice Okeke stated that inasmuch as the document sought to be tendered during cross-examination was to contradict or discredit a witness, the document must first conform to the requirements of Section 104 of the Evidence Act.
 
 ‘‘Even if a piece of evidence is relevant, it must pass other admissibility tests for it to be admissible. The test for admissibility, in this case, is the requirement for proper certification as contained in Section 104 of the Evidence Act,’’ she said.
 
She, therefore, ordered that the document be taken back for proper certification.
 
Meanwhile, prosecution counsel, Pinheiro, also today presented another witness, Mohammed Akpe Ishaq, a cashier in the office of the Secretary to the State Government, who disclosed that any cash received was delivered to the SSG in the residential area of the Government House.
 
According to Ishaq, who is the PW5,‘‘The register for cash released is a book meant for people who collect cash to write and sign against their names. It is mostly for people who are not in the SSG's office. Usually, any cash released to the SSG is not indicated in the cash register.’’
 
He further stated that due to the CBN regulation on cash withdrawal not exceeding N10m to N20 million per cheque, there was an arrangement, where some staff could cash cheques in different names.
 
He added: ‘‘Even when they go to bank, after withdrawing the cash, the other staff would hand over the money to me to give to the SSG.’’
 
 Justice Okeke granted the first defendant leave to keep his international passport until April 25, 2016, to enable him travel to India for a surgery.
 
The case has been adjourned to March 10, 2016 for continuation of trial.

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