Fake tyre import: Trial judge questions competence of SON counsel

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By Richard Adeniyi

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of a Federal High Court, Lagos has described as incompetent the prosecution of two Chinese nationals by the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) on allegations of importing of fake tyres into the country.

She ordered SON’s Director of Legal Services to appear in court in order for the trial of the accused could proceed.

The accused — Tao Shen, 36, and Jing Yau, 22 — were charged alongside a Nigerian, Chinedu Madubuike, and two companies, Sino Nigeria Import and Export Ltd, and Nedeca International Ltd.

The accused were alleged to have committed the offences sometime in February by conspiring to import tyres that did not meet the relevant Nigerian standards, which as a contravention of Sections 320 and 510 of the Criminal Code, Laws of the Federation, 2004 and Sections 26 and 32 of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria Act, Laws of the Federation, 2004.

At the resumed trial of the case recently, Babatunde Alajogun, appeared for the prosecution and began the examination-in-chief of the prosecutions’ third witness (PW3).

The PW3, Sylvester Aigbe, told the court that he was the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) who recovered the substandard tyres and iron rods from the defendants’ warehouse.

According to Aigbe, the tyres which came in different sizes were tucked in bigger ones and in batches.

Alajogun sought to tender the tyres and the iron rod as exhibits, but when the court asked for the number of tyres recovered, he and the witness became embroiled in an argument.

The argument went on for about three minutes before the court interjected and delivered a short ruling.

“It is obvious you are not capable of prosecuting this case, you are either incompetent or corrupt.

“How can a prosecutor not (have) seen the exhibit in his case or met the witness before the case is called?

“The Director of Legal Services of your organisation must appear before this court before this case can proceed,”
Olatoregun ruled.

Consequently, she adjourned the case until September 26 for continuation of trial. 

 

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