Alleged importation of substandard tyres: Judge frowns at manner proceedings

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of a Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday frowned at the manner of proceedings in the trial of two Chinese charged with importation of substandard tyres.

At the resumed trial of the defendants, Olatoregun said that witnesses in the case had stopped coming to court.

The judge also noted that one of the defendants, Chinedu Madubuike, was not in court.

He said that the prosecution was at liberty to ask for a bench warrant.

She also expressed dissatisfaction that prosecution of the case had been given to external solicitors.

“Why will an external solicitor be briefed when we have government solicitors,” she asked.

The New Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Chinese nationals Tao Shen, 36, and Jing Yau, 22, were initially arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

They were arraigned along with a Nigerian, Chinedu Madubuike, and two companies – Sino Nig. Import and Export Ltd. and Nedeca International Ltd.

The defendants are standing trial on four counts bordering on importation of substandard products.

At the resumed trial of the case on Tuesday, counsel in the law firm of Festus Keyamo and Co., Mr Oluwafemi Olabisi, told  the court  that the law firm  had been issued fiat to prosecute the case.

Olabisi announced appearance for the prosecution and said that he was appearing for the first time in the case as prosecution counsel.

When the court asked why witnesses were not in court for continuation of trial, Olabisi prayed the court for summons to secure their attendance.

The court adjourned the case until March 28 for continuation of trial.

NAN reports that the defendants were arraigned on March 20, 2018, and pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The court granted them bail in the sum of N10 million each, with two sureties each in like sum.

It ordered the companies to submit a bond each in the sum of N10 million.

The defendants were alleged to have committed the offences in February 2017 by conspiring to import tyres which did not meet the relevant Nigerian industrial standards.

They were also accused of stuffing various sizes of tyres into one, knowing same to be in a dangerous state or injurious to human life.

According to the prosecution, this made the tyres to be unfit for their purpose.

The defendants were equally alleged to have failed to furnish returns on the conditions of the imported tyres as required by law.

The alleged offences contravene the provisions of Sections 320 and 510 of the Criminal Code Act, 2004, and Sections 26 and 32 of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria Act, 2004. (NAN)

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