Inyang Ekwo, the judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja has threatened to discontinue the trial of Senator Shehu Sani over alleged misrepresentation of proceedings by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Ekwo gave the threat shortly after Sani’s lawyer complained, at the resumption of proceedings on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, that the EFCC allegedly gave an inaccurate account, on its Twitter page, of what transpired in the case on Monday.
The EFCC is prosecuting Sani on a two-count charge bordering on influence peddling and obtaining $25,000 from a businessman, Alhaji Sani Dauda, Chairman of ASD Motors Ltd.
Sani was accused of obtaining the $25,000 from Alhaji Dauda under false pretence, allegedly claiming the money would be used to bribe judges in relation to a case for which Alhaji Dauda’s in-law was arrested by the police.
He was alleged to have said he could assist Dauda in influencing the outcome of the case by using his connection with the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Ibrahim Muhammad and the former Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu.
At the mention of the case, Sani’s lawyer, Abdul Ibrahim (SAN) drew the court’s attention to a publication by the EFCC on its Twitter page, noting that what was reported by the EFCC was at variance with what transpired in court the previous day.
Justice Ekwo, while reacting to Ibrahim’s claim, said: “The court of public opinion is not a court of coordinate jurisdiction. It is this court that has the last say at the end of this matter. Not the court of public opinion.
“From the beginning of this case, I have said the records of this case are public records and it can be obtained by anybody including the media.”
The judge then, turned to where the lawyer to the prosecution, Chris Micheli sat and said there would be consequences if the proceeding of the court is misrepresented.
He added: “I don’t want to hear about distorted publications again. If I hear about it again, I am going to throw away your case and you can take it to whoever you like.”
Shortly after, Ibrahim resumed his cross-examination of the prosecution’s 10th witness, Bako Aliyu, from where he stopped the previous day.
Aliyu, an investigator with the EFCC, said the commission retrieved from MTN, one of the nation’s mobile telephone service providers, the call log showing conversations between the complainant, Alhaji Dauda and the defendant, Sani.
He said the call log has not been tendered before the court as evidence.
On whether the EFCC involved the police in its investigation since Magu’s name featured in the case, the witness said no.
At the conclusion of Aliyu’s testimony, Micheli announced his intention to call the prosecution’s 11th witness, but was disallowed by the judge, who wondered why the lawyer that represented the prosecution the previous day was absent on Tuesday.
“Where is Mr Iheanacho? He should come back and do this case. I’m not going to allow you.
“I don’t want my proceedings to have controversies at the end of the day,” the said and adjourned further proceedings till May 24 this year.
Source: The Nation