Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, yesterday held that there was strong evidence that would warrant them to defend themselves against the offences charged.
Justice Ekwo therefore, dismissed the No-case Submission entered by two officials of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in their trial over alleged falsification of tax documents.
Justice Ekwo, in a ruling, held that the no-case submission entered by the defendants – Mohammed Adami and Okoro Udokanmma lacked merit.
Adami and Udokanmma are standing trial on a five-count charge bordering on alleged falsification of Personal Income Tax Clearance Certificate.
The defendants had filed a No-case Submission after the prosecution closed its case after calling six witnesses and tendered documents in support of the allegations against the two FIRS staff.
According to their submissions, the prosecution in all its evidence including oral and documentary was not able to prove any committal of offence by the defendants.
Delivering his ruling in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/2010, Justice Ekwo however, disagreed that the prosecution did not establish a prima facie case against the defendants.
“The essence of determining the establishment of prima facie case is that at the point it is raised, the case is well laid for a reasonable court or tribunal to convict the defendant on the allegation which has been found to be established.
“However, the court would not do so where it has the view that the defendant is given the opportunity to offer explanations or defence, this is the case here.
“I find that by the evidence of Prosecution Witness (PW) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 and exhibits, PW1-a and PW1-b, PW2 – A and PW2-b, PW3 – al – a31, c, and, d, PW5-a1 — a10, PW5-b, and, PW6, the prosecution has made prima facie case on counts one, two, three, four and five of the charge sheet.
“The first and second defendants will be required to make explanations thereto to this court.
“I hereby order the first and second defendants to enter their defence with respect to the allegations in all the counts on the charge sheet, this is the order of this court,” justice Ekwo held.
In one of the counts, the defendants are alleged to have, “sometime in September 2007 knowingly used a falsified personal income tax clearance’ certificate with _ serial no.05027875 and file reference no. ABJ/PIT/07/CAITO/380, which certificate was intended to cover the tax for the periods 2004, 2005 and 2006; purportedly issued on 5/9/2007 in the name of Paul Ogbebor of Paulosa Life Camp, Gwarimpa, Abuja; which they unlawfully presented to one vincent Enoghase for a fee of N120,000.00 (one hundred and twenty thousand naira) only, with the intention that same be used as genuine and thereby committed an offence punishable under s. 43 (b) of the FIRS Act, 2007.”