Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court Abuja, has resumed the trial of an aide toformer National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), Col. Nicholas Ashinze and others after the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, retracted a falsified publication.
Ashinze is standing trial with an Austrian, Wolfgang Reinl, Edidiong Idiong and Sagir Mohammed, on a 13-count charge bothering on money laundering and fraud.
Other defendants in the case are five companies – Geonel Integrated Services Limited, Unity Continental Nigeria Limited, Helpline Organisation, Vibrant Resource Limited and Sologic Integrated Service Limited.
The judge, had on March 21, ordered the EFCC to retract an offensive press statement issued by one Wilson Uwujaren, Head of Media and Publicity in the EFCC, which was published in a daily newspaper.
The published statement addressed Ashinze as a retired officer, stating he was never charged by EFCC for any offence on diversion and misappropriation of a whopping sum of N36billion.
An EFCC investigator, Hassan Seidu, who is a witness in the on-going trial, continued his testimony on how the defendants diverted funds from the ONSA.
In his testimony, he stressed that in the course of their investigation, the EFCC requested from Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) a certified true copy of the registration of six companies, which was afterwards sent and forwarded through the executive chairman of EFCC.
The defence team opposed the admissibility of the document, stating that they are not reliable, and that there is no evidence of payment of the prescribed fees as approved by the minister of trade.
More so, the said documents has no name and signature of certifier, hence, the document failed to meet the provision of sec 379 (1) of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.
The counsel however urged the court to take judicial notice as no prove of payment were made in relation to the documents and asked the court to “consign the document to the dustbin.”
Responding, the prosecution told the court to withdraw the document, promising to do the needful in certifying them.
The judge adjourned the matter to June 12, 20, July 5 and 11 for continuation of trial, having suffered no objection from the defence.