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Alleged N544m contract scam: Court rejects EFCC’s forensic report, exhibits against Babachir Lawal

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The Financial and Monetary Crimes Fee (EFCC) on Thursday in Abuja suffered a serious setback within the trial of former Secretary to the Authorities of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, on alleged N544m contract rip-off with rejection of its displays.

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A Excessive Court docket on the Federal Capital Territory rejected forensic paperwork and different displays sought to be admitted in opposition to Lawal within the trial.

The paperwork, which had been in three classes, had been thrown away by the courtroom on the bottom that circumstances for his or her admissibility weren’t met by the EFCC.

Ruling in an software argued by Chief Akin Olujimi SAN, on behalf of the previous SGF, Justice Charles Agbaza held that the forensic report and different laptop generated paperwork violated the provisions of the Proof Act, 2004.

The Choose held that each EFCC and the defendants didn’t dispute the truth that the paperwork had been generated by way of laptop however stated that Part 84 of the Proof Act, which pertains to admission of such paperwork weren’t complied with by EFCC.

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Amongst others, Justice Agbaza stated that certificates of compliance was not offered as required by regulation earlier than such displays may very well be accepted whereas the oral proof of a prosecution witness, Mrs Fatima Umar, didn’t conform with provision of the regulation on how the data obtained from an iPhone of a personal individual was generated.

The Choose additional held that the proof of the witness fell in need of Part 82 of the Proof Act, whereas he agreed that underneath Part 102 of the identical Act the uncertified paperwork fashioned public paperwork having been ready by EFCC as a public physique.

He subsequently marked the displays as rejected and threw them out.

The case was thereafter adjourned until July 8, 2021, for the continuation of the trial of the previous SGF.

The previous SGF, had in April, requested the courtroom to reject computer-generated paperwork sought by the EFCC to be tendered as displays in opposition to him within the N544M contract fraud trial.

Lawal had informed the courtroom that the forensic laboratory report generated from the pc was not admissible in regulation as a result of they weren’t of their unique type and never licensed as required by regulation.

The EFCC, by way of its counsel Mr Ofem Uket, had sought to tender a forensic laboratory report obtained from print out of an Iphone belonging to at least one Musa Bulani to ascertain the cash laundering expenses filed in opposition to the previous SGF and 5 others.

However counsel to Babachir Lawal, Chief Akin Olujimi SAN had raised an objection in opposition to admission of the paperwork on the bottom that their sources ran foul of sections 84 and 256 of the Proof Act 2014.

He had argued that the printed hardcopy obtained from the Compact Disc will not be the unique supply however the iPhone.

Olujimi had additional argued that the extraction was not marked as a Licensed True Copy (CTC) including that EFCC hacked into somebody’s cellphone and got here up with what it discovered and sought to tender it with out following due strategy of regulation.

For the paperwork to be admitted, Olujimi argued {that a} certificates signed by the maker should accompany them since they’re electronically generated proof and urged Justice Charles Agbaza to reject the extracted info.

John Itodo, counsel for the second defendant, Napoleon Idenala, counsel for the third defendant, Ocholi Okutepa, counsel for the fourth and sixth defendant, Emmanuel Oru, counsel for the fifth defendant all aligned themselves with Olujimi’s submission and adopted it as their arguments.

The prosecution counsel had in a counter, argued in any other case and insisted that there was no must difficulty a certificates, stressing {that a} witness has testified in courtroom and has offered unique paperwork.

With the outright rejection of the delicate displays, EFCC will now depend on oral proof of its witnesses within the prosecution of the previous SGF.

The previous SGF is going through a 10-count cost the EFCC filed in opposition to him however nonetheless pleaded not responsible.

The cost borders on diversion of funds, felony conspiracy, and official corruption.

These standing trial together with him are his youthful brother, Hamidu Lawal; Suleiman Abubakar, Apeh Monday, and two corporations, Rholavision Engineering (fifth defendant) and Josmon Applied sciences (sixth defendant).

Ex-SGF Babachir Lawal opposes EFCC proof on alleged N544m fraud

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