- The money laundering case against the former Ekiti state governor, Ayodele Fayose, has taken another dimension at the Federal High Court in Lagos
- This is as Fayose has kicked against the transfer of the case to a new judge, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke
- Fayose's lawyer, Olalaken Ojo (SAN) has said that the move is contrary to the law since the case in question was still being heard by the former judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun
The transfer of the money laundering case against Ayodele Fayose from Justice Mojisola Olatoregun to Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke has not gone down well with the former Ekiti state governor.
Fayose's lawyer, Olalaken Ojo (SAN), is of the view that the chief judge of the Federal High Court, Lagos division, Justice Adamu Kafarati, acted in error by granting the transfer request of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The trial was billed to continue Monday before Olatoregun, but parties were informed that the transfer had been effected, The Nation reports.
According to Ojo, the resolve to transfer the case fixed to be heard on Monday, June 10, after about 12 witnesses had been called, was contrary to the law.
He said: “This matter was adjourned for continuation of hearing but we are here and it has been reassigned to Justice Aneke for fresh hearing.
“This development is very strange to us, having regards to the fact that the prosecution has called 12 witnesses.
“The current legal regime governing criminal trial in Nigeria and the Federal High Court which is the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 states that any part-heard matter where two or three witnesses have been called cannot be transferred to another judge.
“But in this case, 12 witnesses have been called, therefore, with all due respect, the Honorable CJ perhaps innocently acted in breach of the law, considering Section 98 (2).
“Besides, there is a decision of the Court of Appeal, a case of FRN against Lawal, in which the court ruled that the CJ had no right to transfer a part-heard case like the present one.
“I am aware that the defendants are prepared to explore the remedy available to them in law to have the administrative decision of CJ set aside.
“It is inimical to fair trial. We believe that this is a violation of the law. It is not because Fayose is involved but it is important that we get this order declared a nullity in the interest of all of us, stakeholders in the administration of criminal justice.
“It is a waste of public funds and time. We see it as a bad precedent; we are worried; it could be anybody tomorrow.
“It is surprising that it was the prosecution that triggered it. Already, we have filed a motion before the Court of Appeal on it.”
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that following the request of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the chief judge of the Federal High Court, Lagos Division, Adamu Abdul-Kafarati, on Friday, June 7, ordered the transfer of the trial of Fayose to a new judge.
Abdul-Kafarati, responding to EFCC's request that was dated Tuesday, May 21, directed that the case be transferred to Chukwujekwu Aneke on the grounds that court has lost confidence in the former trial judge, Mojisola Olatoregun.
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