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Court rejects EFCC’s exhibits in trial over alleged N41.5m fraud



The economic and financial crimes commission EFCC, Wednesday suffered a major setback in the prosecution of a N41.5M corruption charges brought against a business man, Adamu Mohammed and 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 customised plate number for a 2014 model lexus jeep 570, which the two defendants claimed to have 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 December 5, for cross examination of the witness by the defence counsel.

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National News

Yellow Fever kills 22 in Bauchi



Following the recent outbreak of yellow fever in Bauchi State, which led to the death of over 15 people, another six new deaths have been recorded, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths so far to 22.

This is just as immunisation of workers in the oil exploration sites in the state has began.

This was disclosed by the Executive Chairman of the Bauchi State Primary Health Care
Development Agency (BSPHCDA), Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, while giving situation report on the outbreak on the deadly disease, on Monday.

Mohammed, who disclosed that no fewer than 143 suspected cases of Yellow Fever were recorded out of which 24 cases were confirmed and 22 died, said all the cases were from Alkaleri Local Government Area of the state.

He also disclosed that 10 out of the 22 people that died of Yellow Fever were rangers working with the Yankari Games Reserve, adding that only 79 per cent coverage was recorded in the on going immunisation campaign against the vector that carries the disease.

The BSPHCDA Executive Chairman lamented that some people were still declining to take the vaccine, hence the deaths were still being recorded.

He disclosed that besides the 500,000 doses of vaccine provided by the federal government, the state has received another batch of 600,000 vaccines.

He explained that the immunisation would now be extended to Kirfi local government in the state, oil exploration sites, and parts of villages in Gombe and Gombe State.

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Oyo partners with NAFDAC to combat use of illicit drugs



Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde on Monday expressed the state readineas to partner with the National Agency for Foods and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to rid the state of illicit drugs.

Makinde said this while receiving in audience the Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Makinde, Taiwo Adisa disclosed that the state would take full advantage of the Dry Port being constructed in Ibadan.

Makinde added, “Health is one of the pillars which this administration is resting on. We believe if there is security and a healthy body, we can go out to work and move from poverty to prosperity.”

“NAFDAC and this government will definitely be partners in progress. A couple of things have also happened here so far.

“In Oyo State, I believe in the next maybe a year or two, we will have our own dry port
here. It is in our own interest and that of NAFDAC that we plan for expansion in the scope of activities for the state office here because of the headache of Apapa in Lagos.”

Also, the governor affirmed that his administration would assist NAFDAC to combat the menace of illicit, and substandard drugs across the State, promising to look into the requests tendered to him by the agency and act as appropriate.

“It was imperative for the state to support NAFDAC in order to ensure protection of lives of the people against illicit drugs and dangerous processed food,” he said.

He said that with the emergence of Dry Port in Ibadan, the work of the agency would be definitely needed.

“If somebody is coming from the Northern part of the country and he can pick his container here in Ibadan, why would he have to drive to Lagos. They will pick it from here and make a turnaround back to the Northern part of the country.

“Now that the standard gauge rail line by the Federal Government has reached Ibadan, the state will make adequate use of the Dry Port located at Olorisa-Oko in Akinyele Local Government as according to him, people from the South East, South-South, the North and majority of South West states would not have reasons to go
to Apapa in Lagos to clear their cargoes”.

In her response, Mrs. Adeyeye who said the purpose of the visit was to seek the assistance of the state in combating the menace of illicit drugs and substandard drugs across the Country added that the agency operates in all the 36 states and the FCT, Abuja.

Accompanied by the management team of the agency and Southwest state
coordinators, Mrs Adeyeye also requested for a befitting office accommodation and operation vehicles from the state

‘She said, ‘We request for unused, abandoned building to renovate or land that the agency can build its state office.”

She also affirmed that the agency has National Taskforce resident at its
headquarters and State Taskforce that is supposed to reside in each state.

She said: ”We need the help of our governors to join hands with our Federal
Task Force to assist us to combat the menace of illicit, substandard, falsified drugs including herbal medicines.

”Part of what NAFDAC does since I came is ensuring that the drugs we are using in the country are the drugs that can work. I never knew that I would come here and start battling with tramadol and codeine, that have destroyed so many young lives.

”Nigeria cannot be greater than her youths because we cannot have tomorrow if we don’t take care of our youth.

”Drugs change the way the brain works and if the brain doesn’t function well the home would not function well, so if the home doesn’t function well, then the society won’t function well.”

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More Nigerians on death row in Malaysia



More Nigerians are on death row than other nationals in Malaysia, Amnesty International said in a new report Monday.

Of the 568 foreign nationals on death row for various offences in Malaysia, 119 are Nigerians, the report said.

In all, some 1,281 people are on death row in the Southeast Asian country, held across 26 detention facilities as of February 22, 2019. That figure includes Malaysians.

In Malaysia, 33 offences are punishable by death.

Most people were sentenced to death for drug-related crimes and murder, the report revealed.

Other offences include use of firearms, robbery and waging war against the king or ruler of a state.

Nigeria tops the list of foreign nationals with 21%, followed by Indonesia (16%), Iran (15%), India (10%), Philippines (8%) and Thailand (6%).

Reports have shown many Nigerians are held on death rows in many countries. In April, 23 Nigerians were placed on death row in Saudi Arabia.

It is not clear whether the Nigerian government has responded to the new data in Malaysia. Calls to the Foreign Affairs ministry in Abuja did not go through on Monday.

Article 5(3) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia and the Criminal Procedure Codeguarantee the right of a person and the relative of such person to be informed, within 24 hours, of the grounds of their arrest as well as the right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of their choice.

Amnesty said representatives of legal aid schemes whom it spoke with expressed no concern about the timeliness of the notification of arrest which was received from law enforcement agencies.

“However, they mentioned concerns related to practical issues, such as the receipt of the fax or email notifications after office hours which would not be acted on until the following day; and the low availability of lawyers when the notification comes in,” the group said.

Amnesty International said family members of defendants said their relatives saw lawyers when they were charged at the Magistrate Court, days after their arrest.

“Similarly, representatives of foreign embassies indicated that they usually get the notification of arrest of their own nationals with a time gap of more than 24 hours or even days.

“Amnesty International was also told by representatives of foreign embassies that in several cases involving foreign nationals, the Malaysian authorities had failed to correctly identify or verify the identity and nationality of the defendants, with the result that those defendants were not able to exercise their right to seek assistance from the consular authorities of their states of origin at the time of arrest,” the report added.

The report further added that foreign nationals who are far from their relatives and have little or no support from their embassies are at a disadvantage to file pardon petitions.

Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu, Executive Director of Amnesty International, Malaysia, faulted the use of death penalties by Malaysian authorities.

He called on the authorities to completely abolish the death penalty for all crimes while also reviewing all cases where people have been sentenced to death, with a view to commuting the sentences.

“Our research found a pattern of unfair trials and secretive hangings that itself spoke volumes. From allegations of torture and other ill-treatment to an opaque pardons process, it’s clear the death penalty is a stain on Malaysia’s criminal justice system.

“Malaysia has a golden chance to break with decades of cruelty and injustice, disproportionately inflicted on some of the most marginalised,” Kaliemuthu wrote.

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