29 June 2012

Nigeria: Daniel's Trial - Court Orders Inquest Into Alleged Threat to Witness' Life

Abeokuta — An Abeokuta High Court has ordered investigations into allegations of threat to the life of a key prosecution witness in the corruption trial of former Gov. Gbenga Daniel of Ogun.

Mr. Babatunde Adeluola, the key prosecution witness, had failed to appear in court at the last sitting to continue his evidence on the grounds of ill-health and alleged threat to his life.

The absence of Adeluola, a business development manager at Skye Bank Plc, had stalled proceedings at the last sitting.

The prosecution counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, who informed the court about the threat to Adeluola's life through text messages, promised to prevail on the witness to appear in court on the adjourned date.

At the resumed hearing on Friday, Justice Olanrewaju Mabekoje stopped further enquiries into the allegation while the defence counsel, Prof. Taiwo Osipitan, was cross-examining Adeluola.

Mabekoje said in order to avoid unnecessary delay in the trial, the prosecution should lodge a formal complaint on the threat at the Ibara Police Station.

He also ordered the police officers investigating the case to make their findings known to the court.

The defence counsel had pointed out discrepancies in two statements of accounts issued by Skye Bank Plc covering the same period in respect of the Blue Chapel Ltd, an organisation owned by Daniel.

The two statements, which were tendered by the prosecution and the defence, had earlier been admitted as exhibits 1 and 2 respectively.

Adeluola, however, attributed the discrepancies to some missing pages in Exhibit 2 during re-examination by Jacobs.

Mabekoje adjourned the case till July 9 for continuation of the trial.

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