Justice Halilu Yusuf of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Maitama, Abuja, has slammed the prosecution team in the criminal case involving a whistleblower, Dr. George Uboh and the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele ,and ordered a Trial Within Trial (TWT).
The day’s proceeding started with the Prosecution Witness 3 (PW3), Superintendent of Police, Stanley testifying.
SP Stanley testified how CBN Governor Emefiele submitted a petition to Police Headquarters.
In the petition, Emefiele had alleged defamation of character through a publication made by Daily Post and SaharaReporters accusing him of diverting over N500 billion.
According to him, the petition was forwarded to the Deputy Inspector General Force CID in Area 10, Abuja.
He downloaded publication dated May 10, 2019, and invited the CBN Governor for statement.
According to him, he also invited one Mr. Edward Lametek Adamu, who is also a Deputy Governor who denied the allegations.
Stanley further narrated that he searched for George Uboh online and found him on Facebook.
On his Facebook account, he claimed he found a press conference on May 6 with journalists present and downloaded the video.
Present at the conference, he said, were correspondents of AIT, Silverbird, Galaxy, and others.
A certain Mr. Johnson Olabode Akinkunmi, a CBN employee in the legal department, he said, submitted bank’s response to the conference.
Also discovered were phone conversation with Emefiele and others which he said he downloaded.
He then proceeded to arrest Dr. Uboh in his Maitama house, searched the house and recovered some documents.
Also discovered were letter addressed to CBN, Finance Minister, Inspector General of Police, et al, as well as a video of interview he granted to Roots TV at Maitama.
He took him to his office in Area 10, Abuja, and obtained his statement.
Ogumu, Esq. shocks Justice Halilu
At this point of his testimony, the lead defence counsel, Mr. Idumodin Ogumu, Esq. fired a series of objections.
Ogumu, Esq. pointed out that the prosecution counsel was asking leading questions to the PW3 to guide him.
The prosecuting counsel rebuked by the judge for asking leading questions to witness.
Then, relying on Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 (ACJA), Section 379 & 380, Idumodi noted that the document provided to him was not same as one tendered.
He pointed out that the document tendered to the court contained an extra page with 10 lines.
He insisted that the document was not compliant to Section 384 of the Evidence Act.
He also noted that the Certificate of Compliance was not in line with Section 384 and did not tally with the evidence of PW3.
A brutal Ogumu succinctly revealed that the printer serial code provided by the PW3 at the court was different from the one in the affidavit presented to court.
Also, the evidence given to Defence counsel differs from document tendered before Justice Halilu.
He informed the court that the documents not were not certified, hence not admissible into court evidence.
He also stressed that PW3 is not the maker of the document, hence, cannot tender it before the court as he cannot answer question arising therefrom.
He prayed Justice Halilu to accordingly reject the evidence without the maker, in this case SaharaReporters and Daily Post.
A brow-beaten prosecution lamely admitted that the document was tendered in error as one page was missing and begged for court permission to withdraw the offensive document.
After some more rows of legal fireworks, the Judge ruled that the court should allow the prosecution to withdraw the document.
The Defence counsel also objected to admissibility of Uboh’s statement made at the police precincts in the absence of his lawyers.
According to him, the statement was obtained under dures, intense pressure and oppression.
Prosecution called for trial within trial (TWT) to determine if the statement was made voluntarily or not.
Justice Halilu attacks Prosecution , Police
Justice Halilu then smacked the security agencies for obtaining evidence under duress without lawyers or a legal aid personnel.
The disappointed judge noted that the illegal action of the security agencies by obtaining evidence under duress derails the wheels of justice and judgment citing ACJA.
He ordered for a trial within trial and adjourned to June 22 for TWT.