by Paul Osas
Former governor of Ogun, Gbenga Daniel, would be arraigned on February 6, 2014 at an Ogun State High Court, in Abeokuta presided over by Justice Olanrewaju Mabekoje. He is facing 38 counts of stealing, fraudulent conversion of land as well as diversion of public funds during his tenure as governor.
The former governor was Tuesday invited for interrogation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the commission’s office in Lagos.
EFCC spokesperson, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed the development saying “He (Daniel) was in Lagos office on Tuesday for a brief interrogation. But I don’t have details of what transpired.”
Reportedly, the former governor was interrogated over allegations that he converted to his personal use, imports waiver obtained from the Federal Government.
Similarly, the trial of a former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, over an alleged N230 million money laundering charge before a Federal High Court in Lagos was Thursday stalled as lead counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Festus Keyamo, assigned a team of lawyers led by Vitalis Ahaotu from his chambers to represent him.
The EFCC had on February 11, re-arraigned Fani-Kayode over alleged money laundering and financial impropriety to the tune of N230 million.
The trial could not continue as scheduled because counsel to the accused, Ifedayo Adedipe, challenged the legality of Mr. Keyamo’s chambers to appear in court. Adedipe said that Keyamo had no legal authority to delegate his law firm to practice on his behalf. He cited Section 24 of the Legal Practioners Act, a 2007 Supreme Court decision in the case of Okafor vs Nweke, to back his argument.
“I object to the appearance of the chambers of Festus Keyamo by his team of lawyers to prosecute this case. Keyamo is not authorised under the Legal Practitioner’s Act to assign his chambers to practise,” Mr. Adedipe said.
However, the Prosecution Counsel, Ahaotu, urged the court to disregard the submission of the counsel to the accused, arguing that the counsel should have filed such submission so that they could give their reply.
Justice Rita Ofilli-Ajumogobia, consequently, adjourned the case till November 27 for further mention and told the accused counsel to file his application within two days.