Court Admits Lists Of Beneficiaries Of Diezani's $115m As Exhibit

Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Lagos has  admitted a document tendered by  the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as exhibit , in the ongoing trial of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Muhammed Dele Belgore, and a former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman over alleged money laundering.

The document which the court admitted as exhibit, contains  list of individuals who benefited from the sum of $115,010,000
which a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani
Alison-Madueke, allegedly deposited in a bank , which she later allegedly
ordered the bank to change the foreign currency to naira  and share it
among some individuals in the 36 of the federation.

The court in its ruling on the admissibility of the document, agreed with the argument of EFCC's counsel , Rotimi Oyedepo, and held that the prosecution has complied substantially with the provisions of Section 84 of the Evidence Act.

Justice Aikawa added that the fact that the document was produced by a computer through an email address of a staff in the course of carrying out an official assignment did not in any way invalidate the tendering of the list of beneficiaries before the court.

"What the Evidence Act intends to do is to simplify and not to complicate the process of admitting documents in court.

" Any officer of the financial institution is competent to tender the document even if he is not the maker of the said document.

"The document and its attachment are one and same is admissible and can be tendered by the PW1", the court held.

After the ruling, Belgore's counsel, Ebun Shofunde (SAN) continued with the cross-examination of the first prosecution witness, Timothy Olaobaju who confirmed before the court that he volunteered a statement to the EFCC on January 9, 2017 admitted that he did not mention Alison-Madueke in his statement to the anti-graft agency.

But as Olaobaju was about to give further explanations as to why Alison-Madueke's name was not mentioned in his statement, the defence lawyers promptly interjected and insisted that the further explanation was not needed.

Justice Aikawa was then urged by Shofunde to adjourn the matter so as to enable the prosecution to produce the said statement made by the witness.

Consequently, the judge adjourned until May 2, 2017 for the EFCC to make available the said statement.

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