EFCC asks for transfer of Fayose's case, says presiding judge is bias

EFCC asks for transfer of Fayose's case, says presiding judge is bias

- The EFCC has asked for the transfer of Ayodele Fayose's case to another judge

- The anti-graft agency had called 10 out of the 14 witnesses for the case since the persecution started

- According to the EFCC, the trial judge on the case is biased as he is from the same place as the former Ekiti governor

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has informed the chief judge of the Federal High Court, Justice A. Abdul-Kafarati, that it is seeking permission to transfer the trial of former governor of Ekiti state, Ayodele Fayose, from Justice Mojisola Olatoregun to another judge.

The petition asking to transfer the case, dated Thursday, March 21, and addressed to Justice Abdul-Kufarati, accused the trial judge of bias, Nigerian Tribune reports.

In the trial, which started in November 2018, the EFCC has called 10 out of the 14 witnesses listed.

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Ola Olanipekun (SAN), the counsel to Fayose, said he was shocked, adding that the EFCC petition is not legal.

He said: “It is a backdoor arrangement which is legally misconceived having regard to the provisions of Section 98(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and the recent decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of F.R.N V. LAWAN (2018) LPELR-43973 (C-A), which barred the Chief Judge from transferring case in which the prosecution had already called witnesses."

The acting chairman of EFCC, in the petition, said that Justice Olatoregun is from the same state with the former governor and is a Princess of Ijero Kingdom, Ekiti state.

Magu also claimed the judge verbally abused Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), counsel to the EFCC, when the case came up on March 20, for continuation of trial.

He said: “Your Lordship, it is pertinent to state that when the case came up before Honourable Justice Olatoregun on the 20th of March, 2019 for continuation of trial, she engaged in unrestrained, unprovoked, and unwarranted vituperations against the (EFCC’s) prosecuting counselling, which are (sic) indicative of the fact that she has an axe to grind with him and the Commission.

“We therefore request Your Lordship to transfer (the case) to another judge of your court for trial.”

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Meanwhile, Legit.ng earlier reported that Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, a former minister of state for defence, told the Federal High Court in Lagos that it was tough accepting to testify against his friend, Fayose.

It was reported that he spoke on Monday, February 4, while testifying in Fayose’s trial for money laundering before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun.

It was gathered that under cross examination by defence counsel, Olalekan Ojo (SAN), Obanikoro admitted he returned N200 million to the federal government.

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Source: Legit.ng

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