By Emmanuel Aziken
ABUJAâ€”A bill to amend the 65 year old Evidence Act to allow the use of electronic and other computer generated evidence in the prosecution of fraud cases has been introduced into the Senate.
The bill sponsored by Senator Sola Akinyede (PDP, Ekiti ) principally aims to remove the present loophole that does not allow electronic and other computer generated evidences to be admissible in court.
The bill according to an accompanying memorandum obtained by Vanguard hopes to put Nigerian evidence law which it claims to be presently anachronistic to be in line with global reality.
The amended evidence Act according to the memorandum, would also become handy with the Federal Governmentâ€™s adoption of e-payment as its basic form of banking payments for contracts.
Senator Akinyede in the memorandum argues that under the present dispensation that the authorities would find it difficult to successfully prosecute fraud perpetuated under the e-payment scheme as many of the materials that could ordinarily be tendered in court are presently not admissible under the extant Evidence Act.
â€œThe basic problem is that our 64 year old Evidence Law does not recognize any record except that record is written on a piece of paper. It does not recognize electronic record.
Apart from records produced by stenography and photocopiers, it does not recognize any other form of record produced by more advanced technology that has emerged since the enactment of that law.â€™â€™
â€œWhat this amendment seeks to do among other things, is to expand the meaning of the word â€˜documentâ€™ to include electronic records, expand the meaning of the phrase â€œbankersâ€™ booksâ€ and expand the meaning of the word â€˜original.â€™â€