An FCT High Court in Maitama has rejected 10 uncertified documents sought to be tendered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the trial of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal.
The trial judge, Justice Jude Okeke, who rejected the documents in a ruling delivered yesterday, however admitted as exhibits seven other documents that were duly certified.The former SGF was arraigned on a 10-count charge bothering on conspiracy and fraud to the tune of N544million along with Hamidu David Lawal, Suleiman Abubakar, Apeh John Monday and two companies, Rholavision Engineering Ltd and Josmon Technologies Ltd.
EFCC accused the former federal government scribe of benefiting illegally from the approval of N544million for the removal of invasive plant species and simplified irrigation.The documents the court decided upon included payment vouchers raised by Presidential Initiative for the North-East (PINE) for payments to both Josmon Technologies Limited and Rholavision Engineering Limited. They were tendered through the first prosecution witness, Hamza Adamu, a staff of PINE. Justice Okeke held that the essence of certification was to ensure accuracy of documents tendered in evidence.
He added that though the prosecutor attached the uncertified documents into the bundle of original documents, it was the duty of the court to examine them to know whether they were admissible. “I have examined the bundle of the documents and it consisted of original documents with attachments of uncertified ones, a total of 17 documents.
“The documents are bearing different dates. Besides this, it is also numbered as different exhibits, the mere fact that they were stapled together does not make them one document,” he held. He said for a public document to be admissible it must be in accordance with the provision of section 104 of Evidence Act, 2011. Meanwhile, the trial has been scheduled to continue today with further evidence from the first prosecution witness.