Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Bankole Knows Fate on Keyamo Dec. 19 for Alleged N2.3Bn Contract Scam

The presiding judge Justice Donatus Okorowa of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja adjourned the contract scam case of N2.3 billion brought against the former House of Representative’s speaker- Dimeji Bankole by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to December 19, 2011.

Bankole was on July 27, 2011 arranged on a 16-count charge over an alleged fraudulent procurement of vehicles, DSTV systems, printers, photocopiers, computers and television sets without compliance with the procedure laid down by the Public Procurement Act of 2007.

Bankole pleaded on the case against him pleaded not guilty on all the charges. He further asked the court to quash the charges leveled against him and disqualify Festus Keyamo counsel for EFCC for lack of fiat from the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to prosecute the case.

According to the application filed by Adegboyega Awomolo, counsel to Mr. Bankole, the only person empowered by the constitution to issue fiat to private legal practitioner to institute or continue criminal proceedings in the high court was Mohammed Adoke (SAN) who officially vacated his seat on the dissolution of the Federal Executive Council on May 28, 2011.

Bankole on the same motion filed through his counsel on July 18, 2011 asked the court for the disqualification of Mr. Festus Keyamo from prosecution him based on what he referred to as a prosecution based on bias and malice based on the fact that he (Keyamo) has in the past written a petition against him in respect of another transaction regarding the purchase of Peugeot 407 cars for the House of Representative.

Keyamo on the resumption of proceedings today filed a counter application urging the judge to discountenance the defense. Citing several legal authorities, he argued that it is legal defective for a defense to request for his disqualification at this stage of the trial after they had already been arraigned and taken his plea.

Referring to the defense argument as a subterfuge designed to delay and stall the trial, Keyamo cited section 157 of the constitution asking the Judge to discountenance the application for his disqualification. In addition, he pleaded with the Judge to dismiss the defense application stressing that the competence or not of the prosecutor does not qualify as a defect on the charges preferred against the accused.

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