Former Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (Rtd) yesterday objected to a move by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to tender some bank documents that showed how connived with some others to defraud the Nigeria Air Force (NAF).
At the resumed trial, counsel for the commission, Rotimi Oyedepo, sought the court's leave to call on Tosin Owobo, an operative of the EFCC who is also a witness in the ongoing trial, to tender some letters obtained during investigations.
Owobo revealed that he obtained some documents from Heritage Bank, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), Skye Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Fidelity, Keystone and Diamond Bank, that showed details of how monies were moved by companies linked to the former Chief of Air Staff.
Mr. Oyedepo then asked to tender one of the letters from FCMB as evidence before the court Bolaji Ayorinde, counsel to Amosu, objected. He claimed that the letter cannot be taken as evidence having been certified by EFCC and signed by the witness who is not the maker of the letter.
According to Ayorinde: "The witness is not the maker of the letter even though he claimed to have come across it in the course of an investigation. He cannot tender a document certified by him in favor of his commission."
He argued that only the bank, being the originator, could certify the documents, and urged the court to reject them as being inadmissible.
Norrisson Quakers, the counsel to the second defendant, expressed the same view, adding that since the letter was not a public document but originated from a private institution, it cannot be admitted in evidence.
Quakers further claimed that EFCC was not in the position to certify the document, adding that one of the criteria for certifying any document was the cost of certification, which was not shown by the prosecutor.
Affirming that the witness was the same person who certified the letter, he called on the court to let it “fly out through the window".
Oyedepo, responding to the defense lawyers, attempted to withdraw the letter.
"I will not be joining issues with the senior advocates and my learned colleagues because I still have questions to ask the witness,” he said. “So, because of time, I move to withdraw the letter."
Ayorinde objected, saying that although the prosecutor could withdraw the letter if he so wished, the court must mark it as rejected.
Mr. Quakers also added that the prosecution could not withdraw the letter after the defense had objected to its admissibility and that Mr. Oyedepo ought to have withdrawn it before counsel argued. He also claimed that the move by the prosecutor to withdraw the letter showed the potency of their argument.
In ruling, Justice Ibrahim Idris agreed that the prosecution could not withdraw a document that had been argued, and could only argue the objection.
The matter was subsequently adjourned to February 24.
Amosu was arraigned alongside a former NAF Chief of Accounts and Budgeting, Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun, and a former Director of Finance and Budget, Air Commodore Olugbenga Gbadebo, for money laundering and conspiracy.