Gbenga Daniel is being prosecuted by the EFCC.
A Former Ogun State Governor, Gbenga Daniel, on Friday told the High Court in Abeokuta that his successor, Ibikunle Amosun, wants him jailed at all cost.
Mr. Daniel is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC for mismanaging N200 million of state funds while he was governor (2003-2011).
However, at the resumed hearing, counsel to the accused, Tayo Oyetibo, while asking for the quashing of counts 1 to 13 preferred against his client, told the Abeokuta High Court that the Ogun State Government was vilifying Mr. Daniel by setting up a commission of enquiry to probe land administration under the former governor.
He argued that Mr. Amosun’s administration did that while at the same giving the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), the fiat to try him for the same offence.
Mr. Oyetibo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said that by not waiting for the conclusion of the criminal procedure and hurriedly setting up a commission of enquiry, issuing a white paper on its findings and giving it wide publicity, the government of Ogun State has put the court in a very difficult situation.
He further argued that the action showed that the Government was in a hurry to try and convict the respondent.
Mr. Oyetibo said since the report of the commission had already been widely published and publicised, it has put the court at the risk of condemnation whichever way it exercises its discretion on the charges in contention.
He said it would also deny Mr. Daniel fair hearing because the commission’s report and the white paper issued by the government has heightened public condemnation of the respondent.
The counsel said by setting up the commission, accepting and publishing its finding via a white paper, the Ogun State Government wants to send a message to the court that it has no option than to follow suit.
He said the Ogun State Government; the victim of the alleged crime as well as the principal complainant, by its action has perverted the legal process when the criminal procedure was still ongoing.
The lawyer said the action of the government was therefore a deviation from established legal norms and therefore urged the court to strike out the charges, stay proceedings on them, or adjourn proceedings in the interest of fair hearing and acceptable legal norms.
The counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, countered by arguing that the Ogun State Government was not a party to the proceedings and as such could not have committed any contempt.
He said the commission of enquiry was set up in pursuant to the powers of state and the publicity given to the white paper would not affect the ongoing procedure at the High Court.
The judge, Olanrewaju Mabekoje, after listening to the counsels fixed January 8, 2013 for ruling on the application for the quashing of the charges.
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