The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday raised the alarm over threats to its witnesses slated to give evidences against a former governor of Ekiti state, Ayo Fayose in a N416 million suit instituted against him by the Commission.
Counsel to the EFCC, Adebisi Adeniyi told Justice Adamu Hobon of the Federal High Court sitting in Ado- Ekiti, Ekiti state that the witnesses are being harassed, intimidated and threatened and cannot present themselves in court.
”My lord, there is an issue I need to draw the attention of the court to. The serious issue that we are facing now is that witnesses in this matter are being threatened on their phones via calls and short messages and warned not to come and witness in this matter. My lord, this is vital information for the court”, he said.
Defence counsel, Owoseni Ajayi tried to absolve Fayose of any involvement in the allege threats, describing the allegation by the EFCC as “a blanket allegation,” but Justice Hobon underlined the duty of the state to the witnesses, stressing that “It is the duty of the government to protect its people, we promise to protect any witness when the time comes”.
At the resumption of the case on Tuesday, principal prosecution witness, Abubakar Aliyu Madaki, continued his testimony before the court.
Madaki stressed that Biological Concept Limited, the company that handled the controversial poultry project for the former governor, was heavily indebted before the contract was awarded to it.
“On April 28, 2004, as soon as the poultry project money, N340 million was credited to Biological Concept’s account, a debt of over N58 million owed by the company was cleared.
“The fund that was used to complete the construction of Fayose’s house was about N44 million. It was taken from the poultry project’s fund”, he said.
Madaki told the court that investigations showed that Fayose lied again in the entries he made in his asset declaration form that he had a balance of N100 million each in two of his company’s accounts, before being elected governor.
The companies are Spotlight Investment and Hero’s Investment Limited.
According to him, the balance in the accounts of the two Ibadan-based companies was nil before Fayose became governor.
“My Lord, Fayose declared another N100 million in the account of one of his companies, Hero’s Investment Limited in Ibadan.
When we investigated this information and we called the company’s managing director to confirm the matter, he said that he knew the accused and that he had never deposited any money into the company’s account.”
A mild drama occurred when the defence counsel, in the course of cross-examining Madaki, presented the court proceedings of one Rasaq Biodun Fari to him for confirmation.
“You have made mention of Mr Fari in your examination – in – chief, and we are giving you this court proceedings to confirm some statements that you made yesterday for classification”, he said.
Adeniyi objected to this, stressing that “My Lord, ordinarily I would not have objected to this, but the purpose of tendering the document must be stated, this is not the statement of prosecution witness 1.
“You cannot ask him to give evidence on someone else’s court evidence- it is against the law and I’m also opposing the tendering of this document as an exhibit my lord”.
Justice Hobon admitted the exhibit but ruled that the defence counsel cannot cross-examine Madaki over someone else’s statement in court.
The case continues on Wednesday.