Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is set to show to a Federal High Court in Abuja a video clip of how its operatives recovered a cash sum of $1m from the Abuja home of a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd.) in February, last year.
An operative of the anti-graft agency, Mr. Mohammed Goji, while testifying as the 15th prosecution witness in Badeh’s trial on Tuesday, narrated how the $1m cash was recovered from a wardrobe in Badeh’s house at 6, Ogun River Street, Maitama, Abuja.
The EFCC initially scheduled to play the video clip to the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, on Wednesday, but the plan was stalled as the defence blocked the tendering of the Video Compact Disc as an exhibit.
Objecting to the admissibility of the VCD, Badeh’s lawyer, Mr. Lasun Sanusi (SAN), said it would amount to an ambush if the court admitted it as an exhibit since it was not part of the proof of evidence served on the defence.
But Justice Abang at some point interjected, querying if Sanusi’s objection could constitute a valid ground for the court to refuse to admit a document as an exhibit.
Prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), agreed with the judge, contending that the admissibility of an exhibit had nothing to do with whether or not it was included in the proof of evidence.
But Jacobs said, from experience, whenever such a situation arose, the best option was to defer the tendering of such an exhibit till another time within which such a document could be served on the opposing party.
The prosecuting counsel suggested that he should be allowed to withdraw the VCD and let Goji complete his evidence-in-chief.
He suggested that after serving the VCD on the defence, he would re-tender it along with some other documents through the Investigative Police Officer in the case.
Justice Abang, in a ruling, agreed with Jacobs.
The judge ordered the prosecution to serve the defence with a copy of the VCD and other documents it intended to tender, but had yet to be served on the defence.
Ahead of Wednesday’s proceedings, some officials of the EFCC had set up a projector and a large screen at one side of the court for the playing of the video clip.
But barely 30 minutes into the proceedings, it became clear that the plan to play the video clip was no longer realistic.
The EFCC officials waited for the proceedings to end on Wednesday, to dismantle the devices set up to show the clip.
Earlier in the proceedings on Wednesday, Justice Abang delivered a ruling in which he dismissed Tuesday’s objection by the defence to the admissibility of some items, including the search warrants executed on a house said to be owned by Badeh, last year February.
The other search warrant said to have been executed on another property in Badeh’s presence was not opposed by the defence.
Both search warrants were admitted as exhibits, along with a red box as well as two waybills recovered during the search.
Goji concluded his evidence-in-chief on Wednesday, but the court adjourned until March 20 to 24 for the cross-examination of the witness and further trial.
The EFCC is prosecuting Badeh and a company, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited, on 10 counts of money laundering involving an alleged fraudulent diversion of N3.9bn belonging to the Nigerian Air Force.
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