The economic and financial crimes commission EFCC, on Wednesday suffered a major setback in the prosecution of a N41.5M corruption charges brought against a business man, Adamu Mohammed and a private his private company, IBAD INTEGRATED LIMITED.
Mohammed and the company are put on trial before a Federal Capital Territory high court on three count charges bothering on alleged fraud amounting to N41.5M
Specifically the anti graft agency alleged that the two defendants sometimes in December 2013, allegedly obtained a sum of N41,382,000 naira from one Augusta Peters under the pretext of purchasing a latest 2014 model Lexus Jeep 570 for her and for clearing of bullet proof Prado Jeeps contrary to section 1 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other fraud related offences Act 2006, but punishable under section 1, sub section 3 of the same act.
The two defendants were further accused by EFCC of collecting another sum of N147,000 from the same person in 2014 under the false pretence of acquiring a customized plate number for a 2014 model lexus jeep 570, which the two defendants claimed to have been shipped from the United State of America to Nigeria.
However to establish the ingredients of the charges beyond reasonable doubt as required by law. The EFCC through its counsel Deborah Etteh tendered a bundle of computer generated documents before the court to establish the charge.
The counsel while tendering the several documents had urged the court to use them as exhibits against the two defendants on the ground that the documents allegedly linked them with the offence.
However Counsel to the defendants Francis Mgboh had vehemently opposed the admission of the documents against his clients stating that the documents were not in conformity with section 84(2) of the evidence Act .
The counsel argued that as computer generated documents, the sources of the documents and the devices used in generating them must be clearly stated with certificate of production and certification.
Mgboh drew the attention of the court to the effect that several documents were lumped together without compliance with the evidence act by the EFCC and urged the court to decline admitting them.
Justice Charles Agbaza in his ruling agreed with the defence counsel that the voluminous documents contravened section 84(2) of the evidence act on the ground that the sources of the computer generated documents and the devices used in producing them were not stated as required by law and therefore made them inadmissible in a criminal trial.
The Judge received the documents but marked them rejected by the court.
Shortly after the ruling a prosecution witness Augusta Peters had in her evidence confirmed that a contract was awarded to the defendants through her company Brain and Braces limited for the sum of N41.3M
The anti graft agency tendered the contract award paper and was admitted as exhibit by Justice Agbaza.
Meanwhile, the court has fixed Dec 5 for cross examination of the witness by the defence counsel.