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Trouble Over EFCC’s Attempt To Tender Evidence Extracted from Telephone In Babachir’s Grass-cutting Scandal

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An attempt by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC to tender evidence extracted from a phone in the trial of former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) , Mr. David Babachir Lawal, over an alleged N500 million grass-cutting fraud, has met with resistance from his lawyer.

Justice Jude Okeke of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), High Court, Maitama, Wednesday September 18, 2019, heard how the evidence linking the company used by the former SGF was extracted from a telephone.

Lawal and his younger brother, Hamidu David Lawal, Suleiman Abubakar, Apeh John alongside two companies, Rholavision Engineering (fifth defendant) and Josmon Technologies (sixth defendant), are facing prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on an amended 10-count charge, bordering on fraud, diversion of funds and criminal conspiracy to the tune of over N500million (Five Hundred Million Naira, only).

At the resumed hearing of the case Wednesday, a prosecution witness and certified data examiner with the EFCC, Fatima Asabe Umar, told the court how she extracted a forensic report from an iphone belonging to one Mr Gulani, using a cellebrite camera.

But the attempt by the prosecution counsel, Offem Uket to tender the video evidence in a CD, was opposed by the defence counsel, Chief Akin Olujimi, SAN.

According to him, information generated from the phone or any other device by virtue of section 84 of the Evidence Act, must be certified to be admitted in evidence. He explained that the prosecution has not produced any such certification.

Justice Okeke, after listening to the argument of both counsel, adjourned the matter to September 24, 2019, for continuation of trial.

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