List of beneficiaries of $115 million, which the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), alleged that a former petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Maduake stashed in Fidelity Bank and subsequently disbursed to some individuals across the country prior to 2015 elections was yesterday admitted as evidence by a Federal High Court in Lagos.
A prosecution witness, Timothy Olaobaju, who appeared in the trial of a former Minister of National planning, Professor Abubakar Suleiman and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mohammed Dele Before over N450 million alleged fraud, in his testimony told the court that Diezani gave the directive that the said money should be distributed to some individuals across the 36 states of the federation.
The EFCC urged the court to admit the list as evidence but counsels to Belgore and Suleiman, Ebun Shofunde (SAN) and O. Ayanlaja, respectively objected tendering the list.
In his ruling on Thursday, Justice Rilwan Aikawa agreed with the arguments of EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, and held that the prosecution has complied substantially with the provisions of section 84 of the Evidence Act.
The judge 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 does not in any way invalidate the tendering of the list of beneficiaries before the 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 judge said.
The matter has been adjourned till May 2, 2017 for continuation of trial.