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Court Refuses To Admit Documents As Exhibits in Suit Filed Against Property Developer 


Abuja, – A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday declined to admit some documents annexed to a charge filed against a property developer, Mr Cecil Osakwe, as exhibits.Justice Binta Nyako, who rejected the documents after counsel for the defendant, Victor Giwa, opposed the oral application by the Federal Government’s lawyer, Ali Baba, agreed that they were not certified true copies (CTCs).The development occured when the 1st prosecution witness (PW1), David Ogwuche, a Revenue Protection Staff with Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), was being led in evidence by Baba.After the witness narrated the event leading to the alleged criminal act against Osakwe with documentary evidence, Giwa, who appeared for the defendant, objected to Baba’s oral application seeking to tender the documents in evidence.The lawyer, who cited Section 84 of the Evidence Act to back his argument, said the photo documents annexed to the charge were computer generated and not CTCs.He prayed the court to discountenance Baba’s request and Justice Nyako agreed with Giwa.Earlier,  Ogwuche, while giving his testimony in a two-count charge allegedly bordering on electricity theft, explained what transpired on Sept. 8, 2021 at No 1, Mekong Close, Maitama in Abuja.“On that fateful day, I and my team were on routing inspection at Mekong Close, Maitama, Abuja.“We visited No 1, Mekong Close where we met security men at the gate. We introduce ourselves to them and told them our purpose of coming.“They now called the facility manager who came and led us inside to check their metres.“We went to where the metres were installed. We met about 16 to 17 metres,” he said.He said their further investigation revealed that the electricity connection to the buildings was bypassed while the utility of the metres was abandoned by the occupants.“The metres were not recording any consumption due to the direct connection,” he saidOgwuche said as a revenue protection staff, when such infraction is detected, “we prevent and cover loses. We input the load that was diverted from the three phases.”He said after the inspection, the report was given to the facility manager to acknowledge, but he declined.The witness said that the team also recommended that the metres should be relocated from inside the building to the transformer point to avoid further bypass.He said a notice of inspection and disconnection report was issued to them before leaving the compund.When the notice was tendered by Baba, it was admitted in evidence and marked as Exhibit A by the judge.Ogwuche then told the court that after the team captured the evidence of the bypass, they “took a snap shot of the metres,” and the four cables.But when Baba sought to tender the documents, Giwa opposed the application.After Giwa cross examined the witness, Justice Nyako adjourned the matter until June 29 for trial continuation.The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/331/2022, the Federal Government had filed a criminal charge against Osakwe over alleged N11 million electricity theft.The property developer was said to have tampered with electricity metres, which resulted in the loss of N11 million revenue to the Federal Government.(NAN)

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