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Daniel’s trial: EFCC officials escape punishment over telecast

An Ogun State High Court, Abeokuta has discharged two officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over a television programme the commission aired in connection with the ongoing trial of the state’s former Governor Gbenga Daniel.

Kabiru Gebi and Seyi Folarin were summoned last week to appear before Justice Olanrewaju Mabekoje for anchoring a television programme which was alleged to have misrepresented the proceedings of the trial.

During the trial on Wednesday, the EFCC counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy, saying the actions of the anti-graft agency officials were not deliberate.

Jacobs, while addressing the court, stated that he had studied and watched a copy of the programme he admitted was sent to him on Wednesday by the defence counsel for Daniel.

Although he tried to exonerate the officials of deliberately twisting court proceedings, Jacobs admitted that the broadcast was “a grievous mistake” and there would be no repeat of the programme.

While attributing the mistake to “technological error,” he submitted that neither him nor the anti-graft agency prosecuting Daniel had any hand in the programme.

Describing the broadcast programme as “innocent publication,” he said the EFCC would retract the “grievous mistake” through the same channel.

Daniel’s counsel, Tayo Oyetibo, told the court that though the presenters of the programme had offended his client, the defendant would not ask the court to commit the officials to prison.

He however threatened that if the media trial of his client was not stopped, Daniel might be forced to buy air time to attack the commission.

In his ruling, Justice Mabekoje said, “What the presenters have done misrepresented, distorted the facts of this court in respect of the ongoing application of the accused person that ruling has been delivered in the application when in actual fact the hearing of the application has not been concluded.”

According to him, the EFCC officials twisted the court proceedings in such a manner capable of disrupting the administration of justice.

He added, “Having fervently considered the view of the prosecuting counsel, and the submittion of the defence counsel, the affected officers are hereby pardoned and that contempt of court proceedings will not be initiated against them.

“They are hereby seriously warned to ensure that court proceedings in any of the programmes of the EFCC are accurately reported in the future.”

-Punch

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Posted by on Feb 16 2012. Filed under Headlines, Ogun, Raw Politics, State News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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