The trial of Ebenezer Joshua and Franca Johnson, two bankers who allegedly forged the certificates of Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML) continued on February 19, 2018 at a Kebbi State High Court with the sixth prosecution witness, Joshua Edward Mamza, giving evidence on how the fraud was uncovered.
Mamza, Head of the ICT Unit in SCUML, informed the court that his Unit maintained the online registration platform of Designated Non-Financial Institutions, including car dealers, hotels among others.
He gave insight into the process of registering for a SCUML certificate, stressing that certificates are issued out to applicants only when they meet the necessary requirements.
He said: “Before issuing any certificate, the DNFIU will upload all their documents to Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
“Secondly, before print-out, nine numerical numbers will be generated which are divided into three, the first two digits represent the city where the company is located, the second two digits signify the sector code and the last five digits signifies the serial number of the registered company.”
He further explained that in the instance case, the registration number of the certificate in dispute which was admitted in evidence as exhibit A did not comply with the rules.
According to him, the state code number for Birnin Kebbi was 22 while that of Sokoto was 34.
“The first two digits that was supposed to represent the state on the disputed certificate, is 34 as against 22 and yet the NGO is domiciled in Kebbi,” he added.
Prosecution counsel, Rimamssomte Eziekel, asked the witness if he could see any disparity between exhibit A – the disputed certificate and exhibit H, the one that was allegedly used to forge exhibit A.
He said: “They are one and the same. Exhibit A, Nobel women for better tomorrow initiative with registration number 341600002 is not supposed to have the registration number it was bearing because the NGO is domiciled in Kebbi and the code of Kebbi is 22 as against 34 and sector code should have been 14 as against 16”.
He concluded his evidence by confirming that exhibit A with registration number 341600002 was not registered with the EFCC and the name is Nobel women for better tomorrow initiative.
During cross examination, the witness denied that exhibit A, E and H emanated from Nigeria Security, Print and Minting (NSPM) which was shown on the certificates. He however confirmed that exhibits E and H emanated from EFCC.
“Database is not just computer. It is a comprehensive room where all electronic records are saved. A database can be saved in a computer,” he said.
On exhibit D, the witness declined any comment because according to him, the document was just a forensic report which did not emanate from his department.
The witness finally informed the court that, the forensic department of the EFCC had nothing to do with printing of SCUML certificates. He made the clarification while responding to questions put to him by Husain Zakariyya, counsel for the second defendant.
Earlier during the proceeding, the fifth prosecution witness, Effa I. Okim, an EFCC operative, who told the court that his investigation into the fraud revealed that “the certificates in dispute were forged in a business centre in Birnin Kebbi.”
It will be recalled that the defendants were first arraigned on July 31, 2017 before the Kebbi State High Court on a three count charge of forgery. They both pleaded “not guilty”.
The prosecution has so far called six witnesses and hope to close its case with its seventh prosecution witness on March 1, 2018.
Media & Publicitiy
February 19, 2018