Naira Marley’s cybercrime trial stalls

The criminal trial of Nigerian singer Azeez Fashola (a.k.a Naira Marley) could not proceed on Thursday before a Federal High Court in Lagos.

The trial was stalled because parties in the suit are still awaiting approval of a fiat by the chief judge of the Federal High Court.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Fashola for alleged cybercrime.

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

Fashola, who sang the popular song – “Am I a Yahoo Boy” – was arraigned on May 20, 2019, before Justice Nicholas Oweibo and he pleaded not guilty.

Oweibo granted him bail for two million naira with two sureties in like sum.

Witnesses were still being led in evidence by EFCC when Oweibo was transferred out of the Lagos division of the court.

The case was, therefore, transferred to Justice Isaac Dipeolu.

On March 6, when the case was first mentioned before Dipeolu, both defence and prosecution counsel confirmed to the judge that there was a pending fiat awaiting a response from the chief judge.

The judge consequently adjourned the case until Thursday (May 30) for the report.

On Thursday, journalists learnt that the fiat had yet to be approved.

There is no slated date yet for the continuation of the trial.

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

The commission alleged that Fashola and his accomplices conspired to use different Access Bank automated teller machine 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 intent to defraud, which, it said, amounted to theft.

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

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