Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday overruled Abdulrasheed Maina’s plea to reject documented evidence presented against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Justice Abang said the defendant was not in a position to determine before the court which document was relevant to the case during prosecution.
He said that any document the prosecution decided to bring before the court to proof their case, provided it was admissible to the law, such documents will be admitted in evidence.
He however noted that whether the court will consider the document relevant to a case before it, was entirely a different issue.
“It is a case of the prosecution and not the defendant, the defendants have not opened their defence.
“It is possible that at the close of the prosecution, the defendants may or may not call evidence in the matter.
“Put differently, the defendants may decide to file a no-case application at the close of the case of the prosecution. If the no-case application succeeds, then the defendants may not call evidence in the matter.
“It is only when the no-case application fails that the defendants may decide to call evidence in the matter.
“In a like manner, it is not for the prosecution to determine which document is relevant to the case of the defendant,” he said.
The Judge further said that when a defendant decides to call evidence in a matter, any document that the defendant decides to bring to court to proof their innocence will be provided in evidence.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 1st and 2nd defendants were Maina and Common Input Property and Investment Ltd, respectively.
EFCC Prosecutor, Mr Farouk Abdullahi, presented a set of five documents indicating the bank statement of accounts, account opening and certificate of identification belonging to Maina and four others as evidence.
The four others were: Kangolo Dynamic Cleaning Services, Drew Investment and Construction Limited, Cluster Logistics and Nafisatu Aliyu.
Justice Abang after admitting the evidence, titled the five documents as Exhibit D1, Exhibit D2, Exhibit D3, Exhibit D4 and Exhibit D5 respectively.
The prosecution said that because the matter was for continuation of trial, he was ready to present the third prosecution witness (PW3).
PW3, Mr Marvis Enabulele, Compliance Officer at a Financial Institution said he served as a witness in the case in respect to a request by the EFCC to provide information on certain accounts in 2019.
Enabulele acknowledged that the accounts information retrieved were that of: Abdulrashid Maina, Cluster Logistics, Kangolo Dynamic Cleaning Services, Nafisatu Aliyu and Trew Investment and Construction Limited.
“We got the information from the archives and data base system of the bank.
“After printing, we also compared what we printed to what was on the bank’s system for accuracy,” he said.
Enabulele after identifying copies of the documents, Abdullahi tendered the 5 sets of documents before the court and urged the court to admit and mark as exhibits.
Counsel to Maina, Mr Mohammed Munguno, however urged the court to reject the documents tendered.
“ The documents are irrelevant, of no use and not related with the charges before the court and also not reflected to the proof of evidence,” he said.
Counsel to the 2nd defendant, Mr Adeola Adedipe, aligned with the submissions of Munguno.
In reaction, the prosecution counsel insisted that the documents tendered were of paramount importance to the case.
“We want the court to see the proof of evidence, especially page 1060 and you will find out that the documents were attached to the proof of evidence.
“The documents are relevant and it does not lie in the mouths of the defendant counsel to say they are not relevant.
“Because, this is a criminal trial on 12 counts charge of money laundering through financial institutions.
“The documents have complied fully with the provision of the Evidence Act,” he said.
NAN also reports that Justice Abang informed the court that he was ready to hear the bail variation and continuation of trial as he adjourned the matter to Jan. 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th, 2020.
Justice Abang had on Nov. 25, 2019 admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N1billion.
He ordered Maina to produce two sureties who must be serving senators.
He also ordered that the two sureties, who must be prepared for a N500m bond each, must always be in court with the defendant at each adjourned date.
According to the Judge, the two lawmakers provided must be free of any criminal trial in any court within the country.
The EFCC had, on Oct. 25, 2019, charged the defendant before the court alongside his firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd on a 12-count charge bothering on money laundering. (NAN)