N544m Grass-Cutting Fraud: Commission Presents Third Witness Against Babachir Lawal
N544m Grass-Cutting Fraud: Commission Presents Third Witness Against Babachir Lawal
N544m Grass-Cutting Fraud: Commission Presents Third Witness Against Babachir Lawal
*Witness Narrates How She Received A Request To Examine An iPhone 7

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has presented a third prosecution witness against the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal in an alleged N544 million Grass-cutting fraud.

The trial continued on Wednesday before Justice Charles Agbaza of the FCT High Court Jabi, with the testimony of Mrs. Fatima Umar, the third prosecution witness, Pw-3.

The witness, who is a deputy head of Digital Forensic Laboratory, EFCC, narrated before the court how she received a request to carry out an examination on a digital device, an iPhone 7.

The Pw-3 noted that the request was to search for deleted sms, iMessages, phone logs, documents and any other thing that could have possibly been deleted on the device.

She added that the iPhone was in a good condition before it was given to her for examination, stressing that she had to caught the network of the phone by putting it on airplane mode in order not to tamper with valuable data.

Umar told the court that for easy access to the deleted iMessages, sms, she had to adopt a system she termed ‘manual and logical extraction’.

According to her, “In this case we used the manual extraction to gain access to the iMessages and we used the logical extraction method to gain access to sms, phone calls, but it did not give us access to the iMessages.

“We used the cellebrite camera to do a video of the iMessages relevant to the case, the information generated was burned on a CD and printed out as hardcopy, which was given to the investigator”.

The witness also narrated that the iPhone belonged to a Musa Bulani and the investigator from whom the request came from, was Mr. Ibrahim Salihu. Umar said that “The investigator requested that I go through the extraction. He said he wanted data from the iMessage.

“He gave keywords to search, he gave words like; SGF, Abia, Abdullahi. Searching the device manually, I came across a saved contact, saved under the name SGF using the cellebrite camera. I extracted it and gave it to the investigator.

“After the extraction, we analyzed and burned it into a CD using the HP workstation and printed it out using the HP LaserJet Pro m402dn. The report made to the investigator was coupled by me, I wrote the report, it was reviewed by another officer by the name Akudo Ladi”.

Prosecuting Counsel, Offem Uket attempted to tender the letter dated 8 March 2018 in evidence, but counsel to Babachir Lawal who is also the first defendant, Akin Olujimi, objected. He argued that the printed hardcopy obtained from the CD is not the original source but the iPhone.

He further argued that the extraction is not marked as a Certified True Copy (CTC) and called on Justice Charles Agbaza to reject the extracted information.

John Itodo, counsel for the second defendant, Napoleon Idenala, counsel for the third defendant, Ocholi Okutepa, counsel for the fourth and sixth defendant, M. E Oru, counsel for the fifth defendant all aligned themselves to Olujimi’s submission and adopted it as their arguments.

The prosecution counsel, however insisted that there is no need to issue a certificate, stressing that the witness has testified in court and has presented original documents.

Justice Charles Agbaza adjourned till June 9 for ruling and cross-examination of the third witness.

The former SGF is answering to a 10-count charge the EFCC entered against him and however pleaded not guilty. The Prosecution alleged that the charge is bordering on diversion of funds, criminal conspiracy, and official corruption before Justice Charles Agbaza, on November 30, 2020, following the demise of Justice Jude Okeke, the previous trial judge.

Those standing trial along with him are his younger brother Hamidu Lawal, Suleiman Abubakar, Apeh Monday, and two companies, Rholavision Engineering (fifth defendant) and Josmon Technologies (sixth defendant).

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