By PM NewsA Nigerian High Court siting in Abuja was on Wednesday told that Senator Aliyu Mohammed Ndume, standing trial on a four count charge that included providing logistics and funding to dreaded Boko Haram sect, had a record of 73 communications in the form of sms, mms and voice calls between 3rd October and 3rd November, 2011, with convicted former spokesman of the sect, Konduga, now serving a 3 years jail term.
This disclosure was made by prosecution witness 3, Mr. Aliyu Usman, a forensic expert in the employ of the directorate of state security services, SSS, who started giving evidence in the trial on Tuesday.
The witness also told the court that Ndume saved Konduga’s phone number on his own hand set as “Mal Ali BH” while Konduga saved the Senator’s phone number on his own phone as “INDUME Sen Ali”. Both phones were confiscated and had been tendered in evidence in the trial.
He further informed the court that the phone examination report gathered through forensic analysis were burned into 3 DVDs and were equally printed in hard copies.
“These extractions, assessment, documentation and reporting were done according to forensic standard and submitted to the chairman of the special investigation panel which investigated the matter at the SSS office”.
Attempts by the prosecutor, Mr. Thompson Olatigbe to tender the 3 DVDs were however opposed by Senator Ndume’s lawyer, Mr. Rickey Tarfa, a senior advocate of Nigeria.
Mr. Tarfa observed that the materials which are computer generated are secondary evidence and not the original copies. Citing section 84 of the Evidence Act, Tarfa argued that for the materials to be admitted in evidence, that the Act provides that a statement must be prepared to authenticate the veracity of such material and pointed out that there is no such statement accompanying the DVDs which the prosecution wants the court to admit in evidence.
According to the senior advocate, ” the absence of any statement showing that these copies are original and authenticated copies makes them inadmissible. There ought to be an explanation about the unavailability of the original copies as what is sought to be tendered are secondary evidence. There is also no foundation as to why a secondary evidence is being sought to be tendered”
He subsequently opposed the admission of the DVDs as exhibits in the matter.
In his reaction, the prosecution, Mr. Olatigbe agreed that the DVDs are secondary evidence developed from the primary evidence which are Konduga’s and Senator Ndume’s hand sets which have already been admitted as exhibits P5 and P6 in the trial.
“The 3DVDs are mere extractions from both phones, the content and facts contained in the DVDs are all in the two phones and it is the duty of the court and the parties to look at the said phones viz a viz the materials sought to be tendered. The information on the DVDs were obtained through the phones by use of forensic tool kits”
He thereafter urged the court to admit the DVDs in evidence in the interest of justice. He also pointed out that the sections being relied upon by Ndume’s lawyer in opposition to the admissibility of the DVDs doe not apply.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole subsequently adjourned till Friday, 14th December, to rule on the admissibility of the DVDs.