By Innocent Anaba
Former Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Fayose, yesterday lost his bid to stop the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)Â from amending the corruption charges brought against him before a Federal High Court in Lagos.
Trial judge in the matter, Justice Tijani Abubakar, in his ruling dismissed the application, thus paving the way for Fayose to be re-arraigned.
EFCC had increased the charges against Fayose from 51 to 80,Â after three companies â€” Spotless Investment Limited, Feyerio Nigeria Limited and Hoff Concepts Limited â€” allegedly owned by the former governorÂ joined in the charge as accused persons.
The court noted thatÂ Fayose based his application on two grounds,Â which are that he had appealed against an earlier ruling of the court, sustaining the amended charge and that trial had commenced and witnesses had been called before the charges were amended by the EFCC.
Justice Abubakar, citing Section 163 of the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA), which gives the prosecution the right to amend or alter any charge at any stage of the trial, held that it was within the powers of the anti-graft commission to amend the charge, if it so desires.
On the fears expressed by the defence counsel that the new charge would prejudice its case, the court cited Section 165 of the CPA,Â which gives the defence a right to recall witnesses and review evidences that had been entered when a charge is amended by the prosecution.