#InCaseYouMissedIt: Gbenga Daniel trial begins; EFCC calls first witness

by Lekan Olanrewaju

The trial of former Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel began yesterday in the Ogun State High Court before Justice Olanrewaju Mabakoje.

The governor was taken to court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC over allegations of conversion of public funds and land belonging to the state, for private use.

The first witness for the prosecution, Babatunde Adeluola, a business development manager with Skye bank on Monday gave his testimony. Adeluola is the account manager for one of the accounts allegedly used by Daniel to embezzle state funds.

Counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs presented the account statement before the court as an exhibit. The account, opened in the name of Blue Chapel Nigeria Ltd, was said to have Otunba Gbenga Daniel as its sole signatory.

The witness however admitted, under cross-examination by Professor Taiwo Osipitan, counsel to Daniel, that he had no knowledge of the deposits and proceeds of account which had been made between 2004 when the account was opened, and 2006, the periods which the statement covered, as he only joined the bank in 2007.

He also stated that Daniel had not made any deposits into the account but deposits could have been made on behalf of the company by clients.

The former governor is being prosecuted for a 38 count charge of financial misappropriation during his tenure in Ogun State.

He had previously been cleared of all charges by an Abeokuta High court but Chief Judge of the Ogun State High Court, Abeokuta, Justice O. O. Olopade, granted the request of the EFCC to re-arraign him.

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