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Court rules on exhibits in ex-NNPC boss case July 14


The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday fixed July 14 to give its ruling on the application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in the case against a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Andrew Yakubu.

The commission’s counsel had sought the court’s permission to display the content of a memory card and compact disc that were marked as Exhibits M, N, and N1 in the court’s record.

He made this application while he was about to cross-examine Yakubu.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed adjourned the matter for ruling and continuation of the hearing.

The judge adjourned after the counsel to Yakubu opposed the application of the prosecution.

Recall that The PUNCH had earlier reported that Yakubu was arraigned before Justice Ahmed Mohammed, on March 16, 2017, on a six-count of fraud for allegedly owning over $9.8m cash found in a house which also belongs to him in Kaduna State.

Yakubu’s lawyer argued that his client, who was the first defence witness, was not the maker of the exhibits that the prosecution wanted to play to the court.

He argued that the prosecution cannot demonstrate the exhibits through the first defence witness as he ought to have done that through the sixth prosecution witness who is the maker of the exhibits, and who also tendered them in court.

Yakubu’s lawyer also argued that allowing the application will violate the earlier directive of the Court of Appeal when the Appeal Court had sent the matter back to the Federal High Court for the defendant, Andrew Yakubu, to state his own side of the story by entering his defence in respect of Counts 3 and 4 of the charge against him.

Consequently, Yakubu’s lawyer argued that the EFCC was only trying to reopen its case in order to fortify it.

He also told the court that if the court allowed the exhibits to be played, he would not have the opportunity to recall the maker and cross-examine him on it.

Relying on the case of Labaran Maku, he argued that the EFCC did not demonstrate the content of the exhibits through the maker when they tendered it. Thus, he argued that it is considered that the exhibits were just dumped.

Consequently, Yakubu’s lawyer argued that the EFCC cannot, therefore, breathe life into dumped exhibits during cross-examination.

He also informed the court that the defense had filed a no-case submission before the Federal High Court in the matter, which showed they had relied on the prosecution case.

According to him, the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal ruled on the no-case submission while the defendant and the defence were asked to enter their defence on counts 3 and 4.

In view of that, he argued that any attempt to breathe life into the dumped documents will be changing the nature of the no-case submission and overreaching the decision of the Appeal Court.

In his reply to the objections raised by the defence, the counsel to the EFCC raised two issues for the court to determine.

EFCC’s lawyer asked the court to determine in the affirmative whether the said documents were tendered and marked as exhibits before the court.

He also urged the court to determine in the affirmation whether counsel in a trial could make use of exhibits before the court at any stage of the proceeding, particularly in cross-examination.

He added that by the provisions of the Evidence Act, the exhibits before the court could be used at any stage of the proceeding to establish or dispel a fact at any stage of the proceedings.

He further argued that the right to use exhibits before the court was not limited to the prosecution alone as defence also enjoys same right.

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