The progressing preliminary of the previous legislative leader of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose at the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court for supposed N2.2 billion misrepresentation was again slowed down today, as Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), told the court that his star observer contracted Coronavirus.
The previous lead representative and a firm, Spotless Investment Limited, were first charged on October 22, 2018, for supposed criminal penetration of trust, robbery, and illegal tax avoidance.
He was re-charged before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke on July 2, 2019, after the case was removed from Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, following EFCC’s appeal.
At the continued hearing today, the EFCC counsel, who showed up at the court over 30 minutes delayed, making the court standdown the issue, educated the court that he was simply made to know yesterday, that his star observer had Coronavirus.
The EFCC counsel said; “The last meeting, I guaranteed the court of my observer that will be coming into Nigeria from abroad. The observer is in Nigeria. He contracted COVID. On Wednesday, he tried negative.
“I have been checking the advancement of his wellbeing. He is the principal observer in this issue. I just got mindful of his status yesterday, yet he can’t make it to court as I was educated that he is still exceptionally delicate.
“Different observers I have whom I have reached to come are inaccessible. I have just one in court today. I expect to call four additional observers.
“The solitary accessible observer for me today was made sure about yesterday. We are simply ready to record her cycles earlier today, however, I sent it to my partners for the safeguard yesterday. I didn’t have any acquaintance with it would take such a long time for the fundamental observer to recuperate from COVID.”
Reacting, Counsel to Fayose, Ola Olanipekun (SAN) stated: “with respect to the observer he educated the court is accessible in court, as my learned companion stated, extra confirmation of proof was recorded earlier today.
“A development duplicate, which was not at this point recorded was sent through Whatsapp to my phone yesterday at around 4 pm similarly as I showed up at the Murtala Mohammed Airport. The recorded duplicate was served on us today in a matter of seconds before my Lord came in. We have not had the chance of having the brief of the first respondent on the proposed declaration of this observer. In the condition of the learned examiner, this report should have gotten to us a few days before this preliminary, which would have encouraged our planning to take this observer. Considering the way that we have quite recently been served today, we can’t underestimate any observer. We need to talk with the first litigant to appropriately get ready to take this observer. In the conditions, we are not prepared.
Likewise, direction to the subsequent respondent (Spotless Investments Limited), Olalekan Ojo (SAN), lined up with the accommodation of Olanipekun, saying; “I partner myself with the situation of the learned guard counsel for the first litigant. I likewise affirm that I got through WhatsApp records the indictment expected to document around 4 pm yesterday. I earnestly trust that my learned companion for the arraignment doesn’t plan your lordship to see that as administration as that will be the administration of a report yet to be documented.
“There is no connection between’s not having the option to create that principle witness and this extra verification of proof documented in regard of an altogether new observer.
“In the conditions, the litigants can’t be sensibly expected to be presented with extra confirmation of proof around 8.56 am and be relied upon, to begin with, and procedures. Our powerlessness to proceed was foisted on the safeguard by the arraignment.
“On the last note, I surrender that the assertion of the observer is just a 6-page archive yet it must be perused from the setting of the whole case. We should get with the respondents as they are bosses of current realities. In this way, time is expected to interface with the respondents so they can give essential realities to direct us in the lead of their protection.”
Responding, Justice Aneke said to the EFCC counsel, “What is unsettling me is that, allowed that your principle witness was abroad and trapped in the conditions as you stated, what of this extra verification of proof that you have quite recently documented?”
“This is an abnormal period. The observer that should have come from that organization was inaccessible. This extra confirmation of proof was an endeavor to substitute an observer of a similar organization who is inaccessible with the current observer.
“I accept my observers will be prepared as from February. We are requesting a period that will be advantageous for the court. We will be glad to have around 2 or 3 days straight,” Jacobs reacted.
The issue was thusly dismissed to January 28 and 29, March 18 and 19, and April 26, 27, and 28, 2021 for the continuation of the preliminary.
It ought to be reviewed that on December 4, 2020, EFCC counsel, had educated the court that he was incapacitated. He appealed to God for deferment and the court thus deferred the case until January 22, 2021, for the continuation of the preliminary.