By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJAâ€” The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, sought the leave of an Abuja high court sitting in Gudu, to tender fresh incriminating evidence against the former governor of Taraba State, Reverend Jolly Nyame.
The anti-graft agency yesterday told the trial high court that it has uncovered more convincing nexus linking the ex-governor to an alleged theft from the Taraba State treasury, totalingÂ about N1.6 billion.
The new evidence according to counsel to the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, consists of new confessional statement by a new witness in the matter who the commission said was able to further supply financial records from a Zenith Bank account, where part of the looted public funds were lodged by the embattled former governor.
The Commission maintained that Rev. Nyame perfected the alleged crime while he held sway as the Taraba State governor, adding that the additional proof of evidence it sought to tender yesterday would finally nail him to the crime.
However, counsel to Rev. Nyame, Chief Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, has filed a preliminary objection before the trial court, challenging the admissibility of the fresh evidence.
His objection was premised on the grounds that allowing the EFCC to file an additional proof of evidence at this stage of the trial would amount to persecution.
Fagbemi insisted that the evidence sought to be tendered was not obtained with the leave of the court, adding that it would be prejudicial and an outright infringement of his clientâ€™s right to fair hearing should the court rely on the fresh evidence to pass judgment on the matter.
He is therefore praying the trial judge, Justice Adebukola Banjoko, to refuse the fresh evidence and go ahead with prosecuting the accused person on the grounds of the prima-facie proof of evidence already before the high court.
It would be recalled that the former governor is facing a 41-criminal count charges preferred against him by the EFCC.
He was alleged to have pilfered about N1.6 billion public funds belonging to Taraba State between January 2005 and May 2007.
Rev Nyame was specifically interrogated by the EFCC on a petition jointly signed by one Umar Baba and Kelas Obadia entitled: â€œTaraba State in a mess, the Commissioner of Finance goofedâ€ written on behalf of concerned citizens of the state.
He had gone to the Supreme Court with a view to quash the entire criminal charges filed against him by the EFCC, but was turned down by the apex court on March 5, 2010.