EFCC MUST APOLOGISE TO OGD -COUNSEL
A Senior Advocate of Nigerian (SAN), Mr. Tayo Oyetibo, one of the leading defence counsel of the former governor of Ogun State, has said that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) ought to apologise for conducting a negative media campaign against Otunba Gbenga Daniel and for filing charges that could not be substantiated and which were later withdrawn.
Oyetibo, who on Monday spoke after the re-araignment of the former governor at an Abeokuta High Court by the EFCC also accused the agency of amplifying wild and provocative allegations championed by Daniel's political opponents.
'They first said through their spokesperson that N58 billion of Ogun State money was missing but when they came to court they filed a charge of N5 billion and $8 million. After that was quashed they have come back to court alleging that N211 million was missing. They should apologise and tell the whole world that their earlier allegations against our client was unfounded and ill-motivated,' Oyetibo said.
' EFCC has a duty to tell the court and Nigerians that the former governor did not steal N58 billion or N5 billion or $8 million since it was no longer in the new charges.'
The lawyer also faulted the deposition of the agency opposing bail, saying their reference to an imaginary killer squad smacked of persecution and a deliberate attempt to oppress Daniel.
He described the allegation of killer squad as time-worn vendetta meant to harass and oppress the defendant. Noting that the allegation of killer squad was a serious one, he said the lawyers of the former governor had formally reported the police officer who made the deposition on the killer squad to the Police Service Commission over the baseless allegation.
To Oyetibo, the reference made to Apagun Olumide's death by the prosecution was uncharitable, accusing the EFCC of working in concert with the political opponents to persecute the former governor.
He asked the court to take judicial notice of the fact that since he was granted bail the defendant had not in any way tampered with any of the witnesses. He reminded the EFCC that it was not in the public interest to make wild and unfounded allegation. He said what should be paramount to the EFCC was justice and not the harassment and frustration of litigants.
Curiously, one of the new charges against Daniel had to do with the land acquired by the Church of the Lord Aladura for the development of Divine Grace University. In that charge, the former governor was accused of granting wavers over some of the fees to be paid for the land. Interestingly, the incumbent Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, recently announced different categories of rebate of up to 80 percent to those who purchased land in the state for developmental purposes. Religious organisations and schools were to benefit from the rebate.
Justice Olanrewaju Mabekoje has fixed Monday, May 7, for continuation of trial.