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Alleged N29bn fraud: Court okays Nyako’s request to study evidence

ABUJA—The Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, granted request by former governor of Adamawa State, Admiral Murtala Nyako , rtd, and his son, Senator Abdulaziz, to study a set of evidence the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is seeking to tender against them.

The duo are answering to a 37-count money laundering charge alongside two others, Zulkifik Abba and Abubakar Aliyu.

Admiral Murtala Nyako
Admiral Murtala Nyako

The anti-graft agency alleged that the defendants diverted over N29billion from the Adamawa State treasury between January 2011 and December 2014.

Five companies that allegedly served as conduit pipes for the illegal diversion of the funds-Blue Opal Limited, Sebore Farms & Extension Limited, Pagoda Fortunes Limited, Tower Assets Management Limited and Crust Energy Limited, were equally charged before the court as the 5th to 9th accused persons.

At the resumed hearing on the matter yesterday, a former Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, who is counsel to the former governor and his son, applied for time to go through bundles of documents the prosecution sought to tender as exhibits against the defendants.

Agabi made the application on a day the prosecution counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, presented his third witness, Mr. Olubode Olumola, a compliance officer with Zenith Bank, Abuja, through whom he sought to tender several bank documents as exhibits.

Agabi insisted that it would be “dangerous” for his clients not to have an opportunity to study the documents which could be incriminating.

He said it was essential for the defence to go through all the documents one after the other so as to be able to identify documents it would be objecting to, which if done during the trial, would take the time of the court.

Counsel to the other defendants equally adopted Agabi’s stance, even as they also pleaded the court for an adjournment.

Nevertheless, EFCC lawyer, Jacobs, SAN, prayed the court to reject the application which he said was aimed at delaying trial of the defendants.

Jacobs, SAN, noted that the documents were initially tendered and admitted by the previous Judge that handled trial of the defendants.

The defendants who were initially docked before the court on August 7, 2015, were later re-arraigned after the death of trial Justice Evoh Chukwu, in June, 2016. They are currently facing trial before Justice Okon Abang who yesterday acceded to request by the defendants.


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