Justice Lateefat Okunnu of a Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja yesterday set aside a bench warrant earlier made against the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Other beneficiaries of the decision of the court are First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and one Judith Agwu over their non-compliance in tendering relevant documents in a fraud charge against former Managing Director of FinBank, Okey Nwosu and three others.
The judge, on March 30, 2017 issued bench warrant against the witnesses in the trial of Nwosu over alleged N10.9 billion fraud. However, when the matter came up for hearing yesterday, counsel to Nwosu, M.K. Oragwu told the court that the representatives from CBN and FCMB were present in court.
The witnesses despite subpoena failed to produce the documents, which the defendants claimed is relevant to their case. The CBN was represented by Egboagwu Ezulu, Deputy Director, Banking Services, who acknowledged that CBN was served with the subpoena, and thereafter tendered the documents sent through him from the bank.
Also, the Head of Litigation for FCMB, Elonna Ezulu tendered some documents relating to the matter. But EFCC counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) objected to the admissibility on the grounds that the representative of FCMB is not a witness and therefore cannot tender evidence relating to the case on the grounds of fair hearing.
“He cannot tender documents before the court because the prosecution would not be able to cross-examine him. It should also be noted that the annual returns of the bank, the financial statements are supposed to be filed at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the CBN,” Jacobs said, adding that the defence cannot just call on FCMB to submit their copy.
They were arraigned in 2013 before Justice Okunnu. But the Court of Appeal on November 21, 2013 quashed the charges against them by the EFCC and set them free.