The argument over who to use or not as prosecution witness has made the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to reveal how former Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose allegedly threatened and compromised the commission’s witness.
The Commission’s prosecutor, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) told Justice C.J. Aneke that Fayose secretly met and threatened a bullion van driver with Zenith Bank, Ado-Ekiti branch, Mr Adewale Aladegbola. He said the incident left the anti-graft agency with no choice but to replace the witness.
Fayose is currently standing trial before the court alongside a company over N3.3 billion alleged fraud. Jacobs claimed that as a result of the alleged threat and compromise, when Aladegbola appeared before the former judge Justice Mojisola Olatoregun handling the case, he turned around in his testimony to give different evidence from what he wrote in his statement at the EFCC office during investigation.
“I called a witness and he was kidnapped by the defence. The witness was taken over by the defendant (Fayose) and approached by him. We obtained a statement from that witness to confirm what happened and I even had to stop further action on the issue by the EFCC. It is only in our country that this type of things happen; the witness before Olatoregun J., was compromised by this defendant,” Jacob said.
He accused Fayose of attempting to pervert the course of justice, saying, “If not because of my intervention, this defendant (Fayose) would have been facing another charge.”Earlier, Fayose’s counsel, Ola Olanipekun (SAN) and Olalekan Ojo (SAN) opposed the attempt to replace Aladegbola with Johnson Abidakun, who is the Head of Operations, Zenith Bank, Ado-Ekiti branch.
They contended that the prosecution did not have the liberty to change a witness just because such a witness failed to give evidence favourable to them. Olanipekun and Ojo described the attempt to substitute Aladegbola with Abidakun as an abuse of prosecutorial power by the EFCC. They alleged that the EFCC wanted to use Abidakun’s evidence to right the wrongs of Aladegbola.
They urged the court to allow them bring a formal application to address the issue and prayed Justice Aneke to stop Abidakun from testifying in place of Aladegbola, who had earlier testified before Justice Olatoregun. Justice Aneke adjourned till November 28, 2019 for ruling.