N894m contract scam: Bankole begs court to reject fresh evidence

N894m contract scam: Bankole begs court to reject fresh evidence

Erstwhile Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Dimeji Bankole, has begged a Federal High Court in Abuja to reject a fresh set of incriminating evidence the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, sought to tender against him, yesterday.

The former Speaker, who is answering to a 16-count criminal charge preferred against him by the anti-graft agency, challenged the admissibility of the proof of evidence which he insisted were irrelevant to the case against him.

In a bid to prove the allegations, EFCC, at the resumed hearing on the case, yesterday, sought to tender documents it said would prove the complicity of the accused person.

The said documents included receipts for the purchase of Samsung LCDs, desktops, photocopiers and Mercedes cars by the House of Representatives while Bankole was still in power, as well as minutes of meetings where the alleged illegal deal was  brokered.

The prosecuting counsel, Mr. Festus Keyamo, urged the court to consider the evidence with a view to ascertaining the culpability of the accused person to the 16-count charge against him.

Meanwhile, Bankole’s lawyer, Mr Samuel Ologunorisa, SAN, objected to the admissibility of the documents, saying they were offensive to the test of admissibility as enshrined in the Evidence Act.

He urged the court to reject the minutes of meetings attached to the documents, even as he further contended that the documents EFCC sought to tender was to prove the competence of the charges, stressing that the minutes were useless as several paragraphs were missing.

However, Keyamo told the trial court that the documents were received in that manner from the Finance Director of the National Assembly, arguing that it duly satisfied the conditions of admissibility having been certified.

On the issue of missing pages, Keyamo said the documents must not be serially numbered, adding that it could have been a typographic error.

After listening to all the parties, trial Justice Donatus Okorowo, fixed June 11 to deliver ruling on the matter.

It would be recalled that a lead investigator with the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Ahmed, who earlier testified before the court,  narrated how fake companies were awarded contracts amounting to N894million during the period Bankole held sway at the House of Reps.

The witness said spirited efforts by the agency to trace the benefiting companies proved abortive as they were non-existent.

He said the investigation was prompted by a petition that was lodged before the anti-graft agency by Bankole’s colleagues in the House of Reps, led by Mr Dino Melaye.

“My Lord, after our thorough investigations with the C.A.C, and close perusal of the documents used by the then leadership of the House of Representatives under the accused person in the award of the said contracts, we found out that the contact details of the beneficiary companies were non-existent, letters sent to the purported addresses on the contract papers, were returned two weeks later for reason of non existence of the addresses,” he added.

Source: Naija.ng

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