The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday admitted in evidence account opening documents and statements of account of over 30 accounts allegedly used by former Adamawa State governor, Murtala Nyako.
The documents were produced by a prosecution witness, Remigius Ugwu, a staff of Zenith Bank.
Mr. Ugwu told the court that as a compliance officer of the bank, he worked closely with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the Department of State Security, DSS, and the Nigeria Police.
He said he responds to the agencies’ enquiries and request in respect to customers’ accounts.
Mr. Ugwu told the court that he worked together with a former prosecution witness, Olabode Farinuola, who in the course of the trial went on annual leave and subsequently resigned his appointment with the bank.
Earlier, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, made an application for the substitution of a prosecution witness.
The trial judge, Okon Abang, granted the request since there was no objection from the defence.
Mr. Abang adjourned the matter till February 21 for continuation of trial.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the absence of a prosecution witness had stalled proceedings in the matter on January 25.
The prosecuting counsel, A.O. Atolagbe, had told the court that the proceedings for the day was to get the response of the defence to the admissibility or otherwise of some documents tendered by a witness.
He, however, said that the witness was not in court because he was on leave and outside Abuja.
The defence counsel, Ibrahim Isiaku, who said he was holding the brief of Kanu Agabi on that day, urged the court to adjourn the matter since the witness was not in court.
Mr. Abang had frowned at the prosecution’s thinking that the matter could go on without the witness present in court.
He said that it was the position of the law that the witness must be in court since the said document sought to be tendered involved him.
He said that the prosecution had failed to give a reasonable excuse as to why the witness was not in court.
Mr. Nyako and his son, Abdulaziz Murtala-Nyako, a senator, are standing trial over alleged N40 billion fraud.
The father and son are facing a 37-count money laundering charge, alongside two others, Zulkifik Abba and Abubakar Aliyu.
They allegedly diverted the funds from the Adamawa treasury between January 2011 and December 2014.
The funds were allegedly diverted through five companies – Blue Opal Limited, Sebore Farms &Amp Extension Limited, Pagoda Fortunes Limited, Tower Assets Management Limited and Crust Energy Limited.
The companies were also charged before the court as the 5th to 9th defendants.