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Counsels disagree over cross-examination of witness during ex-gov Aliyu’s trial for alleged fraud

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The trial of former Niger State governor, Babangida Aliyu, and two other persons for alleged fraud and misappropriation of funds resumed at the State High Court, Minna, on Monday.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Aliyu and two of his aides – Tanko Beji and Umar Nasco – for alleged diversion of N2billion Ecological Fund during his tenure as governor of Niger State.

Two prosecution witnesses including one Isaac Gado had last week told Justice Mikail Aliyu how the ex-governor withdrew N800 million with 80 cheques in 2014.

At Monday’s proceeding, the matter took an interesting twist when Aliyu’s counsel vehemently objected to the questioning of Gado by counsel to Nasko.

The witness had testified that the withdrawn cash was to be taken to Nasko, who is the third defendant in the case.

But Mamman Mike Osman, counsel to the third defendant, during the cross-examination of the witness, sought to know whether the ex-governor was the ultimate recipient of the money delivered to his client, to which the witness responded, “yes.”

Dissatisfied with his colleague’s line of questioning, Aliyu’s counsel, Musa Sulaiman, objected, arguing that the questioning amounted to “opinion evidence” and speculative.

But Osman expressed surprise at the objection.

READ ALSO: How ex-gov Aliyu withdrew N800m ecological fund – Witnesses

He insisted that the purpose of cross-examination was to extract relevant facts on the matter.

He said: “The prosecution is not objecting, it is unusual for anyone but the prosecution to raise an objection to my mode of cross-examination.”

“It must not necessarily be confined to the fact elicited by the witness. I never sought his opinion but asked whether the first defendant was the ultimate recipient of the tranches he delivered.”

The judge overruled the objection of the ex-governor’s counsel.

He said: “The only person that can raise an objection is the prosecution. You have every opportunity to cross-examine the PW4 which you did.”

Justice Mikail adjourned the matter till November 3, 4, and 5 for ruling on the admissibility of some documents presented by the witness.

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