The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC yesterday before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja discontinued the cross examination of former Head of Service of the Federation, Stephen Oronsaye, on an alleged N2b fraud charges brought against him by the Federal Government. Although the cross examination was slated to be conducted to extract facts and ingredients to establish the alleged fraud, EFCC made a dramatic u-turn as it announced that it would no longer continue to cross examine the defendant. At Friday’s proceedings, Oronsaye was called into the dock for cross examination, but Oluwaleke Atolagbe who stood for the anti-graft agency and billed to conduct the cross examination, told the trial judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo that he would not continue.
The counsel did not give reason for the discontinuation of the cross examination. However, answering a question from his counsel, the former Head of Service told the court that money in the Presidency’s Contingency Account is not budgeted for. Oronsaye, who is the sole defense witness, subsequently announced closure of his defense in the fraud charges. The former Head of Service of the Federation had on Thursday faulted the mode adopted by the EFCC in the investigation of the alleged malpractices brought against him in relation to federal pensions.
Oronsaye, who was cross examined by the EFCC lawyer, Oluwaleke Atolagbe had claimed that EFCC came into some wrong conclusions in the ways and manners the allegations against him were investigated. Specifically, he explained that the EFCC chose to pick only payment vouchers rather than the whole files in the contract award, hence the anti-graft agency could not arrive at just conclusions.
He claimed that award of contracts and running of government was a process involving files moving from one place to another, adding that the EFCC ought to have worked on entire files rather than picking only payment vouchers to conduct investigation.
Meanwhile, Justice Ekwo has fixed October 20 for continuation of trial. Oronsaye was arraigned alongside the Managing Director of Fedrick Hamilton Global Services Limited, Mr. Osarenkhoe Afe. It was alleged that the defendants had between 2010 and 2011 used the firms and diverted public funds through procurement fraud.