A staff of Diamond Bank, Eno-Mfon Effiong who is also an account officer of the five accounts belonging to Olisa Metuh, the PDP spokesman, and his company, Destra Investments Limited with Diamond Bank has told a Federal High Court how the sum of N400 million was paid into the account of the company by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).
The witness who was testifying as Prosecution Witness said on November 24, 2014 the account of Destra Investments Limited was credited with N400 million from the office of the NSA under code CBN/CIFTS/MAT SEC ADBIS, which in simple terms means that it is a credit from the ONSA. Before that payment, the balance on the account of Destra Investments Limited before the credit from the NSA on November 24, 2014 was N6,676,576.06.
Metuh’s lawyer, Emeka Etiaba, who examined the witness afterwards, argued that the document presented by the prosecution as evidence lacks certificate of identification and so cannot be admitted by the court.
“In line with Section 104 of the Evidence Act, every letter must be backed by an evidence of payment for the certificate of identification supporting the statement of account.’‘
He also said that for the period in question, a certificate was made over a year after to accompany the letter.
He said the witness in the box is also not the originator of the document. Etiaba therefore rejected the letter supporting the document presented by the prosecution. He objected to the admissibility of the letter by Diamond Bank responding to some requests by the EFCC with respect to Destra Investment Limited’s bank account.
The letter was erroneously dated January 5, 2015 instead of January 5, 2016, and the defence on the basis of that contended that the document was not admissible because it was not the same as the witness earlier referred to in Effiong’s evidence-in-chief.
But in his objection, the prosecuting counsel, Sylvester Tahir prayed the court to overrule Etiaba’s objection.
Tahir said: “The objection by the defendant is without basis and amounts to a mere scum.”
He further referred the court to a similar objection yesterday, January 26 by the defendant which he recalled was overruled by the court.
But the judge dismissed the argument while upholding Tahir’s submission to the effect that despite the error in the date of the letter, it was clear that it was written in response to a letter by the EFCC dated December 30, 2015.
The judge, Okon Abang, overruled the objection and held that contrary to the contention by Etiaba, all the documents met the standard of admissibility set out in the Evidence Act. He said Diamond Bank is not a party to the matter before the court.
He said: “For this purpose, Diamond Bank is an agent of the prosecutor.”
He however said that any document presented legally by the prosecution can be tendered through the witness.
He said a letter issued by a private person to a public institution becomes a public document in line with section 103 (b) of the Evidence Act.
He ruled that the documents are admissible to the court as they do not require certification and remains immaterial that the witness is not the originator of the document but a staff of an agent of the prosecution.
The exhibits admitted on Wednesday included a letter by EFCC to Diamond Bank dated December 30, 2015 and another one by the commission to the bank dated January 4, 2016.
The others included Diamond Bank’s response letter dated January 5, 2015, Certificate of Identification dated January 11, 2015 and signed by Matilda Obigho of Compliance Department of the bank.
Meanwhile, the case has been adjourned to Thursday, January 28.