June 23, 2009

N6.5bn scam: Borishade, Austrian ask court to reject evidence

By Ise-Oluwa Ige

ABUJA—Former Aviation Minister, Professor Babalola Borishade and an Austrian businessman, Mr. George Eder yesterday requested an Abuja high court to reject a list of exhibit containing incriminating evidence linking them to alleged perpetration of fraud in the implementation of a N6.5billion Safe Tower Project.

They are contending that the exhibits sought to be rejected were principally statements allegedly procured extra-judicially, by the EFCC from the accused persons and some of the prosecution witnesses in the case.

Borishade and others were arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegation of bribery in the award of contract for the replacement of obsolete equipment in the airports.

The others include the Austrian businessman, Eder; former Managing Director of Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, Mr. Roland Iyayi, and the Personal Assistant to Borishade, Mr. T.A Dairo.

They were all charged with criminal charge by the EFCC after they were arrested.

Already, the prosecution had opened its case and a list of documents had been tendered and admitted in evidence by the trial court.

But during yesterday’s proceeding, counsel to Borishade, Mr. Joel Akomolafe objected to the procedure adopted by the EFCC counsel, Mr. Chile Okoroma in tendering exhibits against the accused persons.

He urged the court to expunge all the exhibits tendered so far in the case by the EFCC.

According to him, due process of the law was not followed in tendering the exhibits.

Counsel to Eder , Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN) also agreed with the submission of Akomolafe.

The witness called by the EFCC could not go on with his evidence yesterday because Akomolafe objected to the procedure adopted by Okoroma in tendering evidence.