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‘Am I a Yahoo Boy’, Naira Marley asks court, as trial begins tomorrow

By Editor-in-Chief

A Federal High Court sitting at Ikoyi, Lagos will tomorrow at the trial of Azeez Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley, begin to resolve some of the posers contained in his music: “Am I a Yahoo Boy” which led to his arrest and subsequent arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He is being charged for internet fraud.

The trial was scheduled to commence on Tuesday October 22, 2019, but Marley, through his counsel Mr Olalekan Ojo (SAN), prayed the court sitting before Justice Nicholas Oweibo to halt the proceedings until a motion he filed in the morning was determined. In the motion, the defendant prayed the court to compel 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 therefore prayed the court to hear his motion before the prosecution calls its first witness. 

But, EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, opposed the adjournment application saying that 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 Marley’s prayer. Ojo moved the motion and again, Oyedepo opposed him. 

After hearing the motion, the judge ruled in Marley’s favour. He thereafter ordered the EFCC to provide the defence with its investigators’ statements, if any. 

His ruling: “In criminal trial, it must be borne in mind that criminal trial at the Federal High Court is 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.”

The judge therefore adjourned trial till tomorrow October 23, 2019. 

Fashola, 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 one Yad Isril, said to still be at large.

The defendant was arraigned on May 20, 2019, but pleaded not guilty. He secured 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.

Fashola 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.

He was said to have possessed these counterfeit credit 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) of Cyber Crimes (Prohibition) Prevention Act, 2015.