By Yemi Adebowale
Popular lawyer, Festus Keyamo, has withdrawn as prosecuting counsel in a corruption case between the Federal government and former Governor Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa State.
Mr. Keyamo said he was stepping down as the lead prosecutor for the case instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, due to recent developments which could hinder him from prosecuting the case effectively and vigorous.
He did not give details of the developments.
“Kindly recall that sometime in 2012, the Commission briefed my Chambers to prosecute Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/23/2012; Between: The Federal Republic Of Nigeria V. Timipre Sylva, he wrote in a letter to the EFCC.
“Since then, we have diligently prosecuted the Charge and successfully opposed the bid of the accused person to quash the Charge in limine. The court ruled in our favour for the trial to commence and the Court of Appeal also refused to stay proceedings in the trial.
“However, certain recent developments (in respect of which I would prefer not to elaborate) have necessitated my decision to withdraw from further prosecution of the said Charge. This is because these recent developments may hamper my effective, efficient and vigorous prosecution of the Charge, duties that are expected of every prosecutor” Keyamo said in the letter made available to journalists.
However, an inside source in the All Progressives Congress (APC) who spoke to BREAKING TIMES on condition of anonymity disclosed that the President-Elect, Muhammadu Buhari it was who ordered Keyamo to stay off the case as part of attempts to kill the case for Timipre Sylva who is the Chairman of the Buhari May 29 Transition Committee. Keyamo, a strong supporter of the Buhari presidential campaign is believed to have the ears of the incoming President on legal matters. According to our source, with Keyamo’s involvement in the case as prosecuting counsel, Timipre Sylva would not escape conviction. “Timipre actually begged the President-Elect to soften the grounds for him as his possible conviction would do more damage that Buhari will not recover from”, the source said.
The trial of Timipre Sylva had been fixed for Monday.
Mr. Sylva was docked alongside his co-accused in July 2014 for allegedly using three companies to siphon funds from Bayelsa state treasury between 2009 and 2012.
The companies are Marlin Maritime Limited, Eat Catering Services Limited, and Haloween-Blue Construction and Logistics Limited.