Immediate past governor of Ekiti state, Mr. Ayodele Fayose has said that he will approach the appellate court to challenge the decision of a federal high court to transfer his case to another judge.
One of the lawyers to Fayose, Mr. Olalekan Ojo, SAN, disclosed this on Monday in Lagos when he addressed newsmen.
He said, “This matter was adjourned till today (yesterday) for continuation of hearing but we were today told that it had been reassigned to Justice Aneke for fresh hearing.
“This development is very strange to us, having regards to the fact that the prosecution had called 12 out of their 13 witnesses, having regards to the fact the current legal regime governing criminal trial in Nigeria and the Federal High Court which is Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015, states that any part heard matter where two or three witnesses have been called cannot be transferred to another judge.
“But in this case, 12 witnesses had been called, therefore, with all due respect, the CJ perhaps innocently acted in breach of the law, considering Section 98 (2). Besides, there is a decision of the Court of Appeal, a case of FRN against Lawal, in the matter the court ruled that CJ has no right to transfer part heard case like the present one. I am aware that the defendants are prepared to explore the remedy available to them in law to have the administrative decision of CJ set aside.
“It is inimical to fair trial; it is inimical to defendants to have their case expeditiously tried. It also brings about a possible case of jeopardy. We believed that this is a violation of the law and I think it is not because of Fayose is involved but it is important that we get this order declared nullity, in the interest of all of us, stakeholders in the administration of criminal justice.
“It is waste of public funds, time. We see it as bad precedent, we are worried, it could be anybody tomorrow. It was surprising that it was the prosecution that triggered it. Already, we have file motion before the Court of Appeal on it”.
The acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC), Ibrahim Magu has petitioned the CJ for the transfer of the case from the trial judge, Justice Cecilia Olatoregun citing lack of confidence. The case was transferred to Justice Chukwujeku Aneke.
Fayose is standing trial for alleged N3.3 billion fraud.
Justice Aneke has fixed June 28 for the re-arraignment of the accused.