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N1.5b Fraud: Court rejects EFCC’s document against NSA's Aide

14 February 2017, 17:15

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 charge.

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 concerned.

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 compilation.

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 them.

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 November 2016.

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- News24 Nigeria


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