A Nigerian high court in Abeokuta presided over by Justice Olanrewaju Mabekoje has admitted 26 title documents against the former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel.
The former Governor is facing a 38 count charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC which borders on alleged criminal conversion of public fund and diversion of public land to his personal use when he was governor of the state. Daniel had failed in its bid to quash counts 1 -13 of the information before the court and had to challenge the decision at the Appeal Court in Ibadan where the position of the lower court was upheld.
At the resumed hearing today, the anti-graft agency brought in two official of the state bureau of lands and survey as witnesses and were led in evidence and cross examined by bothe EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) and Taiwo Osipitan (SAN).
Giving the evidence, the first witness, Mariam Bolanle Ademoye who is a Chief Deeds Registrar with the bureau confirmed that all the exhibits were certified true copies of title documents produced by her office upon request by the anti-graft agency. The exhibits bordered on properties that were allegedly acquired illegally by the former Governor while same were allocated to himself, his wife, Yeye Olufunke Daniel and other companies where the former governor has interest.
The second witness, Isaac Akogun, a Deputy Director in the bureau while giving evidence faulted the process by which those lands were acquired adding that they did not follow the due process.
Akogun who was, at the time of the acquisition, an Assistant Director, land services in the bureau explained that he, as the scheduled officer, was not carried along in the process of acquiring the land.
He specifically gave evidence on plots of land where Daniel built his house (Asoludero court), his church, Regeneration Church of God, and other properties in Abeokuta.
In Sagamu, the witness said four plots of land were merged together including ones with subsisting interest to form a bigger plot on which the church was built. Four plots were marged together to form the bigger plot that was allocated to the church and in further examination; two of the plots have subsisting interests while the remaining two were revoked.
“Some public roads were blocked and fenced, the setback to Oba-Erinwole expressway was also fenced along with the church land while 3 other plots were also fenced with the church land,” he said.
He said he was not involved in the process of the land registration adding that most of the processes were done by the Director General of the bureau and ended in the Governor’s office.
Daniel’s counsel, Taiwo Osipitan however sought for adjournment of the case arguing that he needed some documents with which to confront the witness which were not contained in the proof of evidence.
The case was adjourned till 29 of April and 30 May, 2014 for the continuation of hearing.