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Appeal Court reserves ruling on EFCC, Fani-Kayode suit

LAGOS — The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has adjourned for judgment in the appeal by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, against the ruling of a Federal High Court, Lagos, on the admissibility of computer print-out statement of account tendered by the commission before the lower court.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the lower court had in his ruling following an objection by counsel to the former Aviation Minister, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, in the graft charges brought against him by the commission, held that computer print-out of a statement of account was not recongised in the Evidence Act and hence not admissible.

The appellate court, presided over by Justice Dongan-Mensem, reserved judgment after conclusion of argument by  counsel to parties, yesterday.
EFCC in the appeal against the lower court ruling on the admissibility  of computer print-out of statement of account, in its written argument, had contended that computerized statement of account was not excluded by the definition of Banker’s Book, adding that the definition of a document as defined by Section 2 (1) of the Evidence Act used the word “include,” meaning that the definition is not conclusive.

EFCC urged  the court to allow the appeal and set aside the ruling of the lower court.

Counsel to Fani-Kayode contended that technology had overtaken the Evidence Act and that there was no computer as at the time the current Evidence Act was enacted, drawing the attention of the court to a Bill currently before the National Assembly, seeking to amend the Evidence Act.

“Technology has overtaken our law of evidence and the National Assembly has taken appropriate action to amend it. They realised that computer printout computer printout should be admissible in law”, Fani_Kayode’s counsel argued, praying the court  to dismiss the appeal and allow the lower court to continue with the trial of the matter.

Fani-Kayode, is standing trial before the Federal High Court, Lagos  on a 47_count charge of alleged money laundering of about N250m in one of the new generation banks.

But for Bode Goerge and co, this is he second application they are bringing, asking the appellate court to grant them bail pending hearing and determination of their appeal.

It will be recalled that, a panel of justices of the court, presided over by Justice Monica Dongban_Mensem had on December 17, 2009 refused a similar application, but, shortly after the ruling, the appellants demanded that a new panel of justices of the Court of Appeal be constituted to hear their appeal.


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