Abuja - A Federal High Court in Abuja has rejected the major
bank documents the anti-graft agency had tendered to establish its case against
Colonel Nicholas Ashinze and three Security Consultants in a N1.5 billion fraud
Justice Gabriel Kolawole refused to admit the bank
statement, account opening mandate and the certificate of clearance sought to
be tendered by the government on the ground that they were not brought to court
by the appropriate person known to law.
An official of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
(EFCC), Mr Hassan Seidu, who sought to tender the documents that were mainly
computer generated ones, was not the appropriate and proper person known to law
to tender such documents, he insisted.
The Court held that the prosecution erred in law by refusing
to invite the markers of the documents who are officials of Heritage and
Enterprise Banks Plc to come to court to tender the documents.
Justice Kolawole said that in line with the provisions of
the Evidence Act, the EFCC operatives could not be cross examined in the
documents he did not make as anything said by him will amount to hearsay which
cannot be given any probate value by the court.
The Court held that apart from mere receiving the documents
from the two banks, the witness had not established his knowledge of the
document or that he participated in their making.
Justice Kolawole therefore held that the EFCC operative was
not a competent witness to testify on the document in line of the Provisions of
Section 84 of the Evidence Act and therefore rejected and marked the documents
as rejected documents as far as the trial of the alleged corruption was
After the ruling, however, the anti-graft agency’s lawyer,
Mr Ofem Uket, sought for an adjournment of the trial to enable him make better
The request was granted by Justice Kolawole, who
subsequently adjourned the trial till March 7, April 13, as well as May 4.
Also read: EFCC recovers $9.75m, N1.25bn in 2 weeks
The EFCC, had arraigned the quartet of Colonel Nicholas
Ashinze, a former Aide in the Office of National Security Adviser; an Austrian
and Security Consultant Mr Wolfgang Reinl; a retired military intelligent
officer Sagir Mohammed and a legal practitioner Mr Edidiong Idiong, before
Justice Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja on a 13-count charge of
corruption and money laundering to the tune of N1.5 billion.
The defendants have denied the charges preferred against
They were arraigned alongside five companies - Geonel
Integrated Services Limited, Unity Continental Nigeria Limited, Helpline
Organization, Vibrant Resource Limited and Sologic Integrated Services Limited
- accused of allegedly diverting huge sums from the office of the former NSA.
The defendants were granted bail at the last hearing in
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