A federal high court sitting in Lagos on Tuesday has adjourned until
tomorrow to begin the trial of Naira Marley (real name Azeez Fashola)
who is facing criminal charges.

The trial was scheduled to commence today (Tuesday), but Naira Marley,
through his counsel, Olalekan Ojo, prayed Justice Nicholas Oweibo to
halt proceedings until a motion he filed today was determined.

In the motion, the defendant prayed the court to compel the Economic
and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to furnish him with the
prosecution witnesses' statements.

Ojo said: "In the course of pre-trial preparation, it was discovered
that certain documents which we require and to which prosecution made
reference in their proof of evidence, are not available to us."

He prayed the court to hear his motion before the prosecution calls
its first witness.

But the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, opposed the adjournment application.

According to him, the prosecution was not in possession of the
required documents, besides, the defence was not entitled to the
statements as of right.

In a bench ruling, Justice Oweibo granted Naira Marley's prayer.

Ojo moved the motion and again, Oyedepo opposed him.

After hearing the motion, the judge ruled in Naira Marley's favour and
therefore ordered the EFCC to provide the defence with its
investigators' statements.

He held: "In a criminal trial, it must be borne in mind that criminal
trial at the federal high court is a summary trial. Therefore proof of
evidence is not required.

"However, the investigating officer's report must be furnished to the
defence and the statements of witnesses, if any."

He adjourned the trial until Wednesday (tomorrow).

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.

His co-defendant is Yad Isril, said to still be at large.

The defendant was arraigned on May 20, 2019, but pleaded not guilty to
the charges.

He secured a N2-million bail with two sureties in like sum.

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

Naira Marley 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.

Fashola was said to have possessed these counterfeit cards, belonging
to different cardholders, with intent to defraud, and which also
constituted theft.

The offences contravene the provisions of Section 1 23 (1) (b), 27
(1}, 33, 33(9) Cyber Crime (Prohibition) Prevention Act, 2015.


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