Dasuki: Court rejects EFCC’s documents in aide’s trial
The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday rejected an e-payment document tendered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the ongoing trial of Col. Nicholas Ashinze, an aide to retired Col. Sambo Dasuki.
The judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, held that the e-payment schedule of N3.12 billion issued from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and N2.5 billion from office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) did not meet the provision of the Evidence Act.
Ashinze is standing trial with an Austrian, Wolfgang Reinl; Edidiong Idiong and Sagir Mohammed, on a 13-count charge of money laundering. The others defendants were Geonel Integrated Services Limited, Unity Continental Nigeria Limited, Helpline Organisation, Vibrant Resources Limited and Sologic Integrated Service Limited.
At the resumed trial, the prosecution witness, Hassan Seidu, an EFCC investigator, told the court that during their investigation, the EFCC requested for e-payment schedule evidence from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He said the request was to know how the payment of N3.12 billion on April 11, 2014 and N2.5 billion on Feb. 16, 2015 were transferred to two accounts. He further stated that CBN sent the certified true copy of the e-payment slip used for effecting the transfer to Geonel Integrated services Ltd and Unity Continental Nigeria Ltd.
When the prosecution applied to tender the e-payment schedule as exhibit, the defence, led by Ernest Nwoye, opposed the tendering and admission of the document.
Nwoye said that “it is a photocopy of what is supposed to be a certified true copy”, and urged court to reject the documents as they were not in full compliance of the law.
He added that there was no stamp of the certifying authority and there was nothing to show that the document emanate from the CBN. Nwoye submitted that the documents contravened Section 104(1) of the Evidence Act.
In his response, the prosecuting counsel, O.I. Uket, told the court to discountenance the objection of the defence. Uket stressed that “where a certificate is issued, there shall be no further question” and relied on Section . 56, 57 and 58 of the Evidence Act.
He further said that the document was certified before it was presented as evidence and was therefore in total compliance to the law. Kolawole after listening to both parties and viewing the documents, held that what the prosecution had produced were photocopies of documents which do not fulfill provision of Section 56, 57 and 58 of the Evidence Act.
“The payment schedules issued are inadmissible and marked as rejected,’’ he ruled. He adjourned the matter until July 5 for continuation of trial.
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