Alleged Internet Fraud: Naira Marley counter’s EFCC documents in court

Nigerian musician, Naira Marley. [PHOTO CREDIT: Official Instagram page of Naira Marley]
Naira Marley

Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos on Friday, adjourned till May 13 ruling on the admissibility of documents brought before the court in evidence against Azeez Fashola, a.k.a Naira Marley.

The entertainer’s trial for his alleged involvement in credit card fraud continued on Friday.

Naira Marley is standing trial on an 11-count charge of conspiracy and credit card fraud, preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

At the resumed sitting, the prosecution through its second prosecution witness (PW2), Augustine Anosike, an investigator and forensic expert with the EFCC, sought to tender in evidence a compact disc (CD) containing information, analysis and extractions from the defendant’s phone.

During his evidence at the previous sitting, Mr Anosike had told the court that the forensic analysis that was carried out on Naira Marley’s iPhone revealed some shocking evidence against him.

He said the evidences were extracted and burnt into a CD, alongside some documents that were printed out.

The prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, presented the documents before the court and urged the court to admit them in evidence.

The defence counsel, Olalekan Ojo, however opposed the admissibility of the documents on the grounds that the CD does not have the proper authentication required by law, and therefore improperly obtained, as contained in the Cyber Crime Prohibition and Prevention Act, 2015.

Mr Ojo also argued that there may have been interferences while the documents were being produced at the forensic lab of the EFCC. He finally submitted that the CD does not bear any name, title, department, but a signature that can’t be authenticated.

He urged the court to dismiss the admissibility of the documents.

In his response, Mr Oyedepo said that there was no contravention of Section 39 of the Cyber Crime Prohibition and Prevention Act, 2015 as claimed by the defence counsel.

He said what was sought to be tendered is the forensic content of the defendant’s iPhone that was already admitted in evidence.

Mr Oyedepo added that the extractions before the court are materially relevant to the charge.

He also submitted that the desirability to admit the document overrides its non-desirability because there was substantial compliance with the stationary requirement to admit them.

Mr Oyedepo further told the court that there was no break in the chain of management of the exhibit and therefore prayed the court to admit the documents.

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Following the submission by both parties, Mr Oweibo adjourned the matter to May 13, 14, and 15 for ruling and continuation of trial.

Background

Naira Marley, popular for his “Am I a Yahoo Boy” and “Soapy” tracks, is being prosecuted by the EFCC on an 11-count charge of conspiracy, possession of counterfeit cards and fraud.

According to the charge, the defendant committed the offences on different dates, November 26, 2018, December 11, 2018, and May 10, 2019.

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The singer and his accomplices allegedly conspired to use different Access Bank ATM Cards to defraud their victims.

They allegedly used Access Card number 5264711020433662 issued to other persons, in a bid to obtain fraudulent financial gains.

The singer was said to have possessed these counterfeit credit cards, belonging to different cardholders, with intent to defraud, and which also constituted theft.
He has denied the charges.



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