N5.6bn Aviation Scam: Fake Companies used in Contract bid, says Witness

Source: pointblanknews.com

More shocking revelations are coming out of the on- going trial of the former Minister of aviation, Professor Babalola Borishade, and four others: Rowland Iyayi, T. A. Dairo, George Eider and Avsatel Communications Limited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over their alleged fraudulent involvement in the N5.6 billion safe tower project.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Wednesday, June 9, 2010, before Justice Umar Sadiq of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, sitting in Maitama, Abuja, principal prosecution witness, Reuben Omosie, testified that in the course of his investigations of the case, the former director general, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, Roland Iyayi, confessed that F- Colman and Aero Enterprises, the two companies involved in the scam, were all fictitious companies used in perpetrating the N5.6billion scam.

This revelation did not go down well with the accused persons, as counsel to the 3rd accused, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, in his efforts to discredit the witness, prayed the court to discountenance his cross examination by the prosecution, saying that all his testimony are already contained in the of proof of evidence. He also kicked against the admissibility of Iyayi's written statement, saying that it would be illegal to do so. He argued that the statement made by Iyayi was not voluntary as claimed by the witness, rather, it was made under duress. All the other counsel aligned themselves with the position of Awomolo.

In his response, counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, Sylvester Hon, objected to Awomolo's reservations, saying there was no authority in the Evidence Act limiting a witness during cross examination. He also said that by objecting to the admissibility of the accused written statement, the defense counsel were merely rooting for trial within trial, buttressing that all these are avenues to delay proceedings.

The presiding Judge, Justice Umar Sadiq after listening to all the arguments, ruled that the defense counsel could go on with trial within trial, if they so wished.

The case has been adjourned till 7th July 2010 for continuation of trial

Femi Babafemi
Head, Media & Publicity