EFCC witness withdraws from Gbenga Daniel’s corruption trial over commission’s ‘scandalous’ recruitment

Former Ogun State Governor, Gbenga Daniel
Former Ogun State Governor, Gbenga Daniel

Tunde Oladunjoye cited the EFCC’s ‘scandalous’ recruitment as a reason for his stance.

Tunde Oladunjoye, a principal Prosecution Witness in the ongoing trial of former Ogun State Governor, Gbenga Daniel, has withdrawn from being a witness in the case; accusing the prosecutor of improper handling of the trial.

Mr. Daniel is being prosecuted by the Economic and Finance Crimes Commission, EFCC, for mismanagement of state funds while he was Ogun governor (2003-2011). Mr. Oladunjoye, a former ally of the ex-governor, served as Chairman of Ijebu East Local Government Area of Ogun State during Mr. Daniel’s tenure.

Findings by PREMIUM TIMES reveal that Mr. Oladunjoye sent a protest letter to the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde, citing reasons for his decision. The witness faulted the appointment of Mr. Daniel’s former aide as a Chief of Staff at the EFCC.

“Mr. Kayode Oladele was the Special Adviser on NGOs and Counsel to Mr. Gbenga Daniel during the era for which Mr. Gbenga Daniel is currently being tried in court by EFCC. This appointment, to say the least, is immoral and scandalous,” Mr. Oladunjoye said.

He said as a result of the appointment, Mr. Daniel has been boasting that he would be freed in his trial.

“This appointment, to say the least, is immoral and scandalous. Nigeria is now a subject of ridicule before the international community. Mr. Daniel has returned to public glare laughing, even as he has been boasting all over, even in a recent newspaper interview, that nothing will come out of the EFCC trial.

“Daniel is also boasting that he is a favourite of; and South West Coordinator for President Goodluck Jonathan and that he will be given the same role for 2015 and therefore no one can touch him. True?” Mr. Oladunjoye stated.

“I make it bold to say that, the so-called fight against corruption is not only selective and half-hearted, but also discouraging to people who are genuinely out to ensure a corruption-free egalitarian society,” he added.

Mr. Oladunjoye also made reference to the recent re-arrest of Timipre Sylvia, the former Governor of Bayelsa State, who had been arrested and released on bail in the past.

According to the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, Mr. Sylva was” being grilled in connection with fresh evidence linking him with a bouquet of fraudulent transactions that borders on money laundering,” Mr. Oladunjoye said.

“If we may ask, is the former governor of Ogun State, Mr. Gbenga Daniel not facing criminal charges and is his trial not on-going at an Abeokuta High Court? Has Daniel not been found to have illegally and fraudulently bought houses in London only to resell the two houses when it became known to the public, and later laundered the money to China? The evidence and confirmation of Mr. Gbenga Daniel’s money laundering activities is confirmed by a report from the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) of UK, which is in the EFCC file gathering dust on your table,” the witness said in the letter.

“What other evidences do we need for Daniel’s new found confidence than the appointment of his Counsel and Ex-Special Adviser as your Chief of Staff? My position is that I have nothing personal against Mr. Gbenga Daniel or his former Special Adviser, who is now the Chief of all your staff,” he added.

The former prosecution witness said even if Mr. Oladele is the most qualified for the post or most preferred, the commission should have waited for the trial of his former principal to be concluded.

“I urge you to stop fooling Nigerians and assaulting our sensibilities. Remove the log in your own eyes too,” he said.

The former witness added that “in view of the above, I am informing you through this medium that, while I stand by the statements and evidences that I have voluntarily made available to EFCC against Mr. Daniel, I will no longer be willing to appear as one of your principal witnesses in your on-going trial of Mr. Daniel before an Abeokuta High Court’ he told EFCC.

‘I have great respect for the trial Judge and lot of admiration for the Lead-Prosecuting Counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, who was my Senior Comrade in the days of prodemocracy struggle on the platform of Gani Fawehinmi Solidarity Association (GFSA); but with your recent appointment of Mr. Daniel’s Ex-Special Adviser as your Chief of Staff, I do not wish to further appear physically, as your witness in the prolonged prosecution of Mr. Daniel. I am just too busy to waste my time further.”

The witness then narrated some of his ordeal in the hands of the former governor.

“I am sure you must have heard the persecution that I and my family have suffered since I started this crusade against Mr. Daniel over the embezzlement of over N96billion naira local government funds in Ogun State during his eight years of maladministration. Mrs. Funke Daniel on July 24, 2010 led thugs to my country home, ransacked my entire house and brutalised my Special Assistant, Mr. Rasheed Odunaya, who was later hospitalised. The thugs left with some of my personal effects and cash.

“This attack, was later described as a “peace mission” by Mr. Daniel himself in his memoir, “Daniel in the Lion’s Den”, wherein he ‘confessed’ the brutalisation of Mr. Odunaya but added that the “policeman who slapped him was reprimanded” (Peaceful slaps that landed Mr. Odunaya in hospital!). The recovered expended bullet, out of the several that were fired when my town, Ijebu Itele was practically occupied is still with the Police CID Alagbon. Mrs. Funke Daniel, till date, has shunned the police invitation to make statement.

“My family had to go on exile. My life has been under threat till date. But I remain confident that it is only Almighty Allah, Subuhana Tahala, that gives and take lives. Finally Sir, I have maintained that mine is to alert and to provide the incontrovertible evidence. I am not EFCC and I am not the Judiciary. I have played my own role. The rest is left for posterity to judge all of us,” he said.

Efforts to get the EFCC’s reaction to Mr. Oladunjoye’s claims were unsuccessful. The commission’s spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, did not pick or return calls to his phone. He also was yet to respond to a sms sent to him as at press time.


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