The trial of Mr. Michael Igbinedion before a Federal High Court sitting in Benin-City will on September 23 end, as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is set to close its case.
Mr. Michael Igbinedion, younger brother to former governor of Edo State, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, Patrick Eboigbodin and four companies: Gava Corporation Limited; Romrig Nigeria Limited; PML Securities Company Limited and PML Nigeria Limited are facing trial over an alleged N25 billion scam. At the resumed hearing in the matter, EFCC called three witnesses.
The first witness, Mr. Ajoyo Sowale, an Accounts Officer with Guaranty Trust Bank, identified various account statements and account opening documents of the accused persons and also confirmed the lodgments made into the various accounts. He told the court that he printed the various account statements and got them certified.
Also led in evidence was the second witness, Mr. Eriyo David, who was the Personal Assistant to Micheal Igbinedion. David narrated to the court how Michael Igbinedion instructed him on several occasions to make lodgments into his GTB accounts and those of Romrig Nigeria Limited and Gava Corporation. According to David, he often received cash from the Accountant at Government House and paid same into the account of the second accused person.
During cross-examination, counsel to the first accused, asked the witness if he ever stole government money with the first accused person, Mr. Patrick Eboigbodin, to which the witness responded in the negative.
EFCC counsel, before calling the third witness, prayed the court to grant his plea for the charges to be amended, arguing that the testimony of the third witness centred more on the amendments. EFCC also prayed the court for an adjournment to enable the defence study the amended charge. But defence counsel objected on the grounds that the amendments could not be accommodated as the prosecution was expected to close its case.
The court in a short ruling turned down the application and asked the prosecution to go ahead and call its last witness.
The case was adjourned till September 23 and 24, 2013.