A Lagos division of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi has admitted the extrajudicial statement of a former aide to former Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, in the money laundering case against him.
An extrajudicial statement is one made outside the court.
According to the trial judge, Mojisola Olatoregun, admitting the statement of Justin Erukaa, who is now late, as evidence does not in any way represent the importance or weight the court ascribes to the evidence.
“The question is, what is the worth of such an extrajudicial statement and what weight will be ascribed to it? Because the question remains that can the witness be brought to court and examined? The answer is no. The document will, however, be admitted and marked exhibit J.”
Earlier in the proceedings, Ahmed Tarfa, holding the brief for Olalekan Ojo tried to get the court to adjourn the matter pending when the counsel to the second defendant, Mr Ojo, would be able to appear before the court to continue the cross-examination of prosecution witness number 5, Musiliu Obanikoro.
The court, however, refused to adjourn the matter, threatening to close cross-examination of the witness. This was despite the intervention of prosecuting counsel, S.A Obafemi, who asked the court to consider the request of the defence. He said it was unlike Mr Ojo not to follow due process in informing the court of his absence.
Thirty minutes into the matter, however, the Judge, Mrs Olatoregun, requested to see all counsel in her chamber. The matter was subsequently adjourned to Tuesday for cross-examination of the witness.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) accused Mr Fayose and his company, Spotless, of laundering N6.8billion of public funds during the 2014 governorship election in Ekiti.
The offences contravene the provisions of Sections 15(1), 15 (2), 15 (3), 16(2)(b), 16 (d), and 18 (c) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011.