The Federal High Court in Ibadan on Tuesday overruled a defendant, Kolawole Babalola, on the admissibility of the evidence tendered against him in the N8 billion CBN currency scam case.
The judge, Justice Nathaniel Ayo-Emmanuel, held that it was very difficult for any court to believe the story which Babalola told the court in order to render as inadmissible the evidence tendered by EFCC against him.
Citing Section 29 of the Evidence Act 2011 to support his ruling, Ayo-Emmanuel pointed out that the alleged intimidation, which the first defendant claimed to have suffered and warranted him to lie against himself, was too elementary.
Ayo-Emmanuel said: “I hereby hold that Babalola, as a well-educated and seasoned banker, cannot be forced or pressurised to make the declarations contained in the statements which he signed himself.
“I will, therefore, overrule the objection and admit all the statements made by the defendant in evidence.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the judge had previously overruled the objection filed in a sister suit.
Olayinka Bolanle, the defence counsel, had opposed the admissibility of the statements tendered against his client.
Bolanle stated that his client was harassed, intimidated, tortured and teargassed before the statement was obtained from him.
The defendant himself submitted during a trial within a trial session that the condition under which the statements were taken from him was intimidating.
At the resumption of the trial, one Michael Adamaku, an EFCC operative, who investigated the alleged fraud, told the court that Babalola and Muniru Olaniran acquired many properties from the proceeds of the fraud.
Adamaku said: “My lord, our investigation revealed that Babalola bought a piece of land at the rate of N15 million at Akala area and built an event centre worth N17 million.
“In addition, Babalola took some money to South Africa and built a house there.
“He also owns another duplex at Gbekuba in Apata area of Ibadan.
“Olaniran also built a nursery and primary school and a petrol station from the proceeds of the fraud.
“My lord, Sterling Bank was one of the commercial banks involved in the fraud because the 61 boxes it sent was supposed to be containing N610 million.
“However, we were only able to count N98.7 million.
“That singular event left the apex bank with a loss of over N511.3 million.’’
NAN reports that Ibrahim Salami, Emmanuel Ordia and, Adekunle Ilori along with others, since 2015, been facing multiple charges bordering on conspiracy, stealing and recirculation of currency notes at Ibadan branch of CBN.