… as Babachir Lawal asks court to reject EFCC’S evidence

By Fortune Eromosele, Abuja

A Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting, has adjourned the criminal trial brought against former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal and five others to January 28, 2022.

Babachir Lawal, alongside his younger brother, Hamidu Lawal; Suleiman Abubakar; Apeh Monday and two companies, Rholavision Engineering Limited and Josmon Technologies Limited, are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC before Justice Charles Agbaza of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Jabi, Abuja.

They are facing a 10-count fraud charge relating to removal of evasive plant species to the tune of N544 million for which they pleaded not guilty.

At the resumed proceedings, trial Justice Charles Agbaza adjourned the matter for ruling and continuation of hearing, after listening to arguments from the prosecution and defendants counsels.

Part of the argument that ensued was when EFCC’s witness, Dare Folarin told the court that an iPhone 7 belonging to a Musa Bulani was taken to EFCC’s digital laboratory in March, 2018, where the investigating team requested for text messages sent and received, WhatsApp messages and message that might have been deleted to be analysed.

READ ALSO: Alleged N544m grass-cutting fraud: Why Babachir Lawal wasn’t reported to security agencies — Witness

It was at the point of telling the court that while members of the team were in the laboratory they were shown a message on the iPhone that the defence team objected to his line of evidence, which had earlier been rejected by the court.

Babachir Lawal, through his counsel, Chief Akin Olujimi SAN, raised the objection to the line of evidence being given before Justice Charles Agbaza by the witness, Folarin.

Asking the court to reject the line of evidence, Olujimi said what the prosecution wanted to do through Folarin was to smuggle in an evidence earlier rejected by the same court when it ruled against admitting a Compact Disc on the said iPhone.

Responding, prosecuting counsel, Mr Ofem Uket, urged the court to discountenance the objection raised by the defence team, saying that the evidence being given by the witness was not a hearsay as he was narrating what he and other investigators did at the EFCC laboratory on the iPhone.

Having listening to arguments by parties, Justice Agbaza adjourned to Friday, January 28, 2022 to give a ruling on the objection raised by the defendants.

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