Entertainment

Alleged Cyber Crime: EFCC’s suit against Naira Marley stalled

The criminal trial of Nigerian singer Azeez Fashola, a.k.a. Naira Marley, could not proceed before a Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday, following a pending application for fiat before the Chief Judge (CJ) of the court.

The trial judge, Justice Isaac Dipeolu, was informed by the prosecutor, Mrs Bilikisu Buhari, that an application for fiat to enable the former judge to continue with the trial of the defendant is already awaiting approval by the CJ of the court.

She said that the application is dated December 8, 2023.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Naira Marley on charges bordering on cybercrime.

The anti-graft agency preferred the charges on May 14, 2019.

Fashola, who sang the popular song “Am I a Yahoo Boy?” was consequently arraigned on May 20, 2019, before Justice Nicholas Oweiboo, but he had pleaded not guilty.

Justice Oweibo had accordingly granted him bail in the sum of two million naira, with two sureties in like sum.

The trial has since commenced in the case, and witnesses were still being led in evidence, but Justice Oweibo, who was later transferred out of the Lagos division of the court.

The case was therefore transferred to a new judge, Dipeolu.

When the case was called for the first time before Justice Dipeolu, Buhari appeared for the prosecution, while Mr V.C. Maduagwu appeared for the defendant.

Defence counsel also confirmed the position as stated by the prosecutor to the court.

Following information about the pending application for fiat brought to the attention of the new judge by counsel, the court consequently, adjourned the case until May 30 for a report.

According to the EFCC, the defendant committed the offences on different dates between Nov. 26, 2018 and Dec. 11, 2018, as well as May 10, 2019.

The commission alleged that Fashola and his accomplices conspired to use different Access Bank ATM cards to defraud their victims.

It alleged that the defendant used a bank credit card issued to another person in a bid to obtain fraudulent financial gains.

The EFCC also said that the defendant possessed counterfeit credit cards belonging to different people, with the intent to defraud, which amounted to theft.

The alleged offences contravene the provisions of Sections 1–23(1)(b), 27(1), and 33(9) of the Cyber Crime (Prohibition) Prevention Act, 2015. (NAN)

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