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Money laundering: Fayose knows fate on Dec 18

Posted by By Tony Amokeodo on 2008/11/18 | Views: 2564 |

Money laundering: Fayose knows fate on Dec 18

Justice Tijani Abubakar of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday fixed December 18 for his ruling on the former Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose.

Justice Tijani Abubakar of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday fixed December 18 for his ruling on the former Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose.

The ex-governor had urged the court to stay proceedings on the money laundering trial preferred against him, pending the determination of his appeal at the Court of Appeal in Lagos.

But the judge faulted at the way his lawyers were conducting his case without regard to due process.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is prosecuting Fayose on a 51-count charge for alleged money laundering involving N1.4bn.

When the matter came up on Tuesday, the judge noted that it had become a pattern for Fayose‘s lawyers to file applications at odd times and disrupt the court‘s schedule.

Fayose‘s lawyer, Mr. Owoseni Ajayi, had incurred the wrath of the judge when it filed an application for stay of proceedings on Tuesday morning.

He also insisted that the application be heard even when the court had dismissed similar application about a week earlier.

The judge said, "Last time, trial was to begin, four prosecution witnesses were in court. You brought an application. Now you have filed another application this morning when the court adjourned to today for trial. Why must you file application in the morning of the day when the matter is to be heard?

"You have disrupted our records. You cause us untold hardship by bringing application anyhow."

But the judge later allowed Ajayi to move the said application.

Ajayi had told the court that his client‘s application was premised on three issues for the court‘s determination.

He explained that the original application earlier filed by the ex-governor was the one asking the court to quash the charge against him for lack of jurisdiction.

Opposing the application, the EFCC‘s lawyer, Mr. Wahab Shittu, urged the court to "throw it into a trash can because it is incompetent and lacks merit."

He argued that it was wrong for the accused to come before the court with a prayer for stay of proceedings when it failed to obey the court‘s earlier directive that trial should commence on November 18.

He argued that Fayose lawyer‘s action amounted to contempt of court.

He also contended that it was impossible to stay proceedings in criminal cases initiated by the EFCC, citing Section 40 of the EFCC Act to justify his argument.

Shittu said the failure of his client to file a counter- affidavit to Fayose‘s application was because of the peculiar circumstance created by the accused ‘s decision to file and serve the said application on Tuesday morning.

He added that the said application amounted to an abuse of court process and asked the ex-governor to submit himself to trial since that would not amount to his conviction.

He said, "The trial process is not a conviction. It is an opportunity for parties to present their cases. Even if convicted after trial, the accused can still appeal the court‘s decision."

Responding to Shittu‘s argument, Ajayi insisted that his client‘s application amounted to contempt of court, saying, "at most it could be termed an abuse of court process. But not contempt of court."

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