Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday fixed June 12, 2017 to continue the trial of Colonel Nicholas Ashinze, a former aide of the detained former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Mohammed Dasuki (rtd) and three others.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arraigned Ashinze, alongside Wolfgang Reinl, who is an Austrian, Edidiong Idiong and Sagir Mohammed, on a 13-count charge, bordering on corruption and money laundering.
Ashinze, alongside his co-defendants were accused of diverting money from the office of the former NSA.
The prosecution counsel, Ofem Uket, was leading the first prosecution witness, Hassan Seidu, when he sought to tender some documents as exhibit, counsel to the first defendant, Ernest Nwoye, objected to the admissibility of the documents on the ground that they were not part of proof of evidence, adding that the Administration of Justice Act (ACJA) abhors surprises in a criminal trial.
He argued also that the prescribed fee for such documents was not paid, neither were the documents stamped.
Nwoye said, “Contrary to the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, which abhors surprises especially in criminal trial, they were not part of the proof of evidence.
“Section 124 of the evidence act, in respect to certification of payment of levy fee was not also met. The documents do not have evidence of payment for the approved levy.
“The documents have no name as to the officer who certified it, no signature of the certifier. It has no evidence of payment as prescribed by Ministry of Trade”, he said.
Counsel to the second and third defendants aligned themselves with the submission of Nwoye, while the third defence counsel, Ukwudili Anozie said non availability of the documents to a defendant in a criminal trial constitutes infraction to the fundamental human rights of the defendant.
However, counsel to the fourth defendant, O. Jimoh admitted having been be served with the said documents but however said the documents were marred with irregularities and alterations.
Jimoh posited that the covering letter of the documents was a photocopy and not original copy and that all the copies are not certified.
Uket, however, when confronted with the glaring inadequacies the documents contained, tactically withdrew them.
The trial Judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, adjourned the matter till June 12, 2017 for continuation of the testimony of the prosecution witness.
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