Auto dealer’s N209m fraud case stalled by Prosecutor’s absence

416, Samusideen Babafemi Sarumi

The trial of an alleged fraud syndicate, Mr. Samusideen Babafemi Sarumi, before a Federal High Court, Lagos, on Monday, suffered a setback, due to the absence of the prosecutor.

Samusideen was charged before the court presided over by Justice Chuka Obiozor, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for alleged laundering of N209 million.

The defendant, who is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of 606 Auto Limited, 606 Music Limited and Splash Off Entertainment Limited, is facing a three count-charge of conspiracy and laundering the stated amount, alongside  one Saeed Hammoud Hussain, a Lebanese, said to be at large.

During his arraignment on November 14, 2019, the EFCC through one of his prosecutors, M. K. Hussain, alleged in a charge marked FHC/L/144c/19, that Samusideen, who the Chief Executive Officer of 606 Auto Limited, 606 Music Limited and Splash Off Entertainment Limited and one Saeed Hammoud Hussain, said to be at large, committed the offence between 2016 and 2018.

The EFCC alleged the defendant took possession of eight vehicles valued N135 million and a boat valued N104 million, which he reasonably known to form part of the proceeds of an organised criminal group.

The offences, according to the prosecutor, M. K. Hussain, contravened sections 18(a) and15(2)(d)(6) and punishable under sections 15(3) the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended).

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge and he was granted bail in the sum of N100 million and some other terms, after his lawyer, Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN) argued his bail application.

However, the defendant’s trial was stalled due to COVID-19 Pandemic.

At the resumed trial yesterday, the prosecuting agency, the EFCC was not represented by any lawyer.

However, the defendant’s counsel, Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN) drew the attention of the presiding judge to the absence of prosecutor, despite being informed  of the date.

Banire (SAN), who expressed surprise, also told the court that no lawyer represented the EFCC when last the matter came up on February 10, 2020.

But the presiding Judge, Justice Obiozor, told the defence counsel that the adjournment witnessed in the case was due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The judge however stated that in the spirit of fair hearing, a hearing notice be issued and served on the prosecuting agency, while fixed November 19, 2020, for trial.

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