Justice Olayinka Faji of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, has fixed tomorrow, January 12, 2018, to visit the Department of State Security (DSS) office in Shangisha, where an illegally imported 661 pump action riffles intercepted by men of the Nigeria Customs Services (NCS), are warehoused.
The judge made the pronouncement after the prosecutor, Mr. Julius Ajakaiye, applied for a visit to the site where the guns are kept so that they can be presented to the court as exhibits.
Mr. Ajakaiye had earlier called one Mr. Bolaji Adeyemo, an officer of DSS, to give testimony as a witness in the ongoing trial.
Mr. Adeyemo informed the court that upon handing over of the contraband to the state security, he was assigned to take custody of all items seized.
He said the riffles alongside some steel doors and furniture were in a container lashed to a truck marked BDG/246/XG.
The DSS officer, who claimed he is in Exhibit Keeping and Data Retention Unit, stated that he intercepted a container on March 10, 2017 and transferred it to the DSS.
At resumption of trial today, the defense team; Mr. Yakubu Galadima, Mr. Adamu Abdulahi, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) and Dr. Paul Ananaba (SAN), crossed examined the witness who told the court how the defendants made false declaration in some customs documents.
During the cross examination, the defense team, tried to established that none of their clients were names in any of the documents tendered by the customs.
It would be recalled that the Nigeria Customs had on June 14, 2017, arraigned two Customs Officials, Mr. Muhmud Hassan and Mr. Salisu Abdulahi Danjuma, alongside one Mr. Oscar Orkafor, Mr. Donatus Ezebunwa Achinulo and Mr. Matthew Okoye, before Justice Ayotunde Faji, on charges bordering on illegal importation of fire arms, conspiracy, forgery and altering of documents.
The offences according to the prosecutor, Mr. Ajakaiye, are contrary to the provisions of sections 3(6),1(14)(a)(I) 1(2) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap. M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and punishable under same act.
Yesterday, a Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Mr. A. M. Adamu, who was a prosecution witness, told the court how the accused persons were arrested, and how the case was reported to the Department of State Security (DSS).
Mr. Adamu particularly told the court that the importers also lied in Customs declaration Form, apart from paying less duty.
The head of FOU said; “the total duty value for the items was $200, 000 USD, but in the declaration, what was laid was $150, 000 USD. They also declared that the good originated from China and Turkey”.
The witness stated further that “the importers listed 100 pieces of steel doors, 225 packages of steel doors valued at $13, 364 USD, at the exchange rate of N305 to one Dollar.
“I discovered a lots of discrepancies in Customs Declaration forms, each documents tells different stories”, the Customs Chief stated.
Mr. Adamu also told the court that, after his investigation, he informed the Comptroller-General of Customs, who directed him to DSS for further investigation, where he also made a statement.
However, the defendants’ lawyers were unable to cross-examine the witness on the ground that they were just served with the proof of evidence on Tuesday.
The lawyers, pleaded with the court for a short adjournment to enable them study the document.
Consequently, the presiding judge adjourned the matter till today for cross-examination of the witness and continuation of trial.