N180m Fraud: EFCC raises fresh evidence against Nyame
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has filed a 71 page additional proofs of evidence against former governor of Taraba state, Rev. Jolly Nyame over his on-goingtrial in a case of N180 billion scam preferred against him by the anti-graft agency. The fresh evidences were filed at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory before Justice Adebukola Banjoko.
The EFCC also filed before the court an additional list of witnesses who have volunteered information that would be useful in the prosecution of the case. Some of the witnesses include bank and serving government officials.
Among the additional proofs of evidence brought forward by the EFCC against Nyame are banks' account opening packages by some aides of the former governor ; certified true copies of account opening packages of some of the aides of the former governor, certified true copies of statements of accountsand certified true copies of eighteen different cheque books.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Thursday , Lateef Fagbemi, leading 14 other defence counsel, filed preliminary objection to the EFCC's additional proofs of evidence describing the action as persecution instead of prosecution.
In his response, prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs told the court that the EFCC's action of filing additional proofs of evidence was within the ambit of the law. “We are not limited by law to file additional proofs. The filing of preliminary objection to the prosecution's proofs of evidence is novel in law, we would surely need to argue that out”, he said.
Nyame who is being tried on allegations of stealing, criminal breach of trust, diversion of public funds, bribery and misappropriation of fundsamounting to N180 million belonging to Taraba State government is facing a 41 count charge for fraudulent award of contracts and receiving gratifications.
He had tried to quash the charges preffered against him as he filed an application on October 10, 2007 to that effect. In the application, he claimed that there was no prima facie case against him and for want of jurisdiction. Justice Banjoko dismissed the application for lacking in merit.
However, Nyame proceeded to the Appeal Courtwhich equally dismissed the application on February 24, 2010. He further went to the Supreme Courtto seek for the same relief. Upholding the ruling of the lower court, the Apex Court in its ruling read by Justice Olufunlola Oyelola Adekeye, ruled that the FCT High Court has jurisdiction to try Nyame.
The Apex court specifically held that there was a foundation upon which the Abuja High Court can go on with the trial. “On this score, we have before us two concurrent findings of the two lower courts that the charge before the FCT High Court, Abujais competently before the court and the criminal charge can now proceed to hearing. This court has no cause to interfere with the two decisions. Appeal is dismissed for lacking in merit.”
With the matter now before her lordship, Justice Banjoko warned counsel to both parties that she would not entertain frivolous applications or unnecessary delay as she was willing to see the case to the end. The matter has been adjourned to Friday for continuation of hearing.