N40BN SCAM: BANKOLE ASKS COURT TO DISQUALIFY KEYAMO FROM PROSECUTING HIM

By NBF News
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Bankole
Embattled former speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole has formally prayed an Abuja High Court to disqualify Lagos Lawyer Mr. Festus Keyamo from prosecuting him on behalf of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the alleged N40b loan obtained to fund the House while he was in office.

But in a swift reaction, Keyamo asked the Court to ignore Bankole on the ground that Bankole was chasing shadows at the expense of the real issue.

Bankole insisted that Keyamo was not competent to prosecute him for illegally obtaining a N40 billion loan, having written a petition against him in 2008 alleging massive fraud against him.

His position was contained in his petition to the House Committee on Ethics, wherein, he alleged that Keyamo called him several names and called his integrity into question adding that with that petition, Keyamo was morally and legally incompetent to be the one that will prosecute him in the case at hand.

In the motion for objection against Keyamo filed by Bankole's lawyer Chief Solomon Adegboyega Awolomo SAN, Bankole said that the Court should not allow Keyamo to be the accuser and the prosecutor at the same time.

He claimed that he will not get fair trial from Keyamo as demanded by law as the Lawyer would engage in persecution having been biased against him already and asked the court to disqualify Keyamo or in the alternative order him to disqualify himself in the interest of justice and fair play.

But in a swift reaction, Keyamo asked the Court to ignore Bankole on the ground that Bankole was chasing shadows at the expense of the real issue.

He admitted accusing the former speaker of fraud in the past but insisted that his petition against him cannot remove him from prosecuting the case on behalf of EFCC.

In his counter motion, Keyamo cited the case of Gani Fawehinmi and Halilu Alilu, the former director of military intelligence, adding that in spite of Gani Fawehinmi's accusation, the Supreme Court still allowed him to prosecute Akilu.

Consequently the court fixed July 25 to hear the application and other objections that are pending before it.

Bankole who is standing trial before Justice Suleiman Belgore along side his former deputy, Usman Nafada had brought the application through his counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) premising it on the ground that Keyamo had embarked on persecution of Bankole while he was in office as speaker.

Counsel to Nafada,Sola Oyetibo (SAN) told the court that he had read the objection of the first accused person as regard disqualifying the prosecution counsel and that he was fully in support and therefore prayed the court to hear the objection first.

Awomolo had earlier urged the court to hear his objection first as it is the determinant as to whether the court will proceed to hear other applications.

In his short ruling, Justice Belgore consolidated all the objections and fixed July 25 to hear them.

However, he warned the parties to desist from giving processes that have not been filed before the court to newsmen.

The court had last month admitted Bankole and Nafada to bail.