Justice Bilikisu Aliyu of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Tuesday, May 8, 2018, admitted several documents as exhibits against a former Rivers State Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Gesila Khan, and one other official, Peter Popnen.
The duo are being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for alleged bribery in the sum of N185, 842, 000. 00k (One Hundred and Eighty Five Million, Eight Hundred and Forty Two Thousand Naira only).
Some of the documents presented by the EFCC and which were admitted as exhibits by the court are: an architectural plan of two buildings not declared by 1st defendant in her assets declaration form; a response from INEC dated 26 April, 2016; a forensic laboratory report of hand writing specimen of the 2nd defendant; a forensic report of hand writing specimen of the 1st defendant; a response from Fidelity bank dated 21 April, 2016; a Deed of Conveyance of the 1st defendant and an Assets Declaration Form and INEC Identity Card of the 1st defendant.
Prosecution counsel, Ademiju Olatunji presented her first witness, Taiwo Idonnuegbe, a staff of Fidelity Bank, before the court. In his testimony, PW1 told the court that he paid the sum of N185, 842, 000.00k to the 1st and 2nd defendants on 27 March, 2015 by an instruction from his Divisional Head, while working at the Trans-Amadi( Port Harcourt) branch of the bank.
According to him, the money was brought from Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Port Harcourt’s branch at 8:00pm and the 2nd defendant signed and collected the money and reportedly gave same to Gesila in her office.
An attempt to tender the receipt of payment of the money to the 1st and 2nd defendants by the prosecution counsel, was opposed by the lead defence counsel, S. Larry [SAN] , who argued that the 1st defendant did not have any contact with the PW1 and the receipt. He also said that the hand writing of his client was not the same on the receipt.
Another prosecution witness, Adoke Usman, an operative of EFCC, told the court, that he was part of an Adhoc-Committee that investigated Rivers State INEC’s staff in April 2016.
According to Usman, the recovered footage from Fidelity bank”s CCTV showed where the 2nd defendant loaded the money into a Toyota Hilux vehicle. Also, he tendered two forensic examiner report for each of the defendants.
Justice Bilkisu Aliyu adjourned the matter to Wednesday, 9 May 2018 and Thursday, 10 May, 2018 for continuation of trial.