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Sexual harassment trial: 2 phones seized from Prof Ndifon admitted as evidence

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Sexual harassment trial: 2 phones seized from Prof Ndifon admitted as evidence

Prof. Cyril Ndifon, former Dean of UNICAL Faculty of Law who was suspended over alleged sexual harassment

Published By: Ayorinde Oluokun

By Taiye Agbaje

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, admitted in evidence two mobile phones seized by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) from Prof. Cyril Ndifon.

Justice James Omotosho admitted the mobile devices; an Oppo Phone and a Tecno Pova Phone with their chargers after they were tendered by the ICPC’s lawyer, Osuobeni Akponimisingha, and the application was not opposed by the defence counsel, Joe Agi, SAN.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Omotosho had, on Friday, granted bail to Ndifon, the suspended Dean of Faculty of Law, University of Calabar (UNICAL), in the sum of N250 million with two sureties in the like sum.

The judge also admitted Sunny Anyanwu, a lawyer charged alongside Mr Ndifon, to a N50 million bail with two sureties.

NAN reports that Ndifon was, on Jan. 25, re-arraigned alongside Anyanwu as 1st and 2nd defendants on an amended four-count charge bordering on alleged sexual harassment and attempt to perverse the cause of justice.

Anyanwu, who is one of the lawyers in the defence, was joined in the amended charge filed on Jan. 22 by the ICPC on allegation that he called one of the prosecution witnesses on her mobile telephone during the pendency of the charge against Ndifon to threatened her.

At the resumed trial, Akponimisingha told the court that the matter was slated for continuation of hearing and two witnesses were in court.

The 3rd prosecution witness (PW3), Mr Tani Karngong, an Exhibit Keeper with ICPC, said his duty was to receive and secure exhibits seized from suspects by the anti-corruption commission’s investigators.

He said besides keeping exhibits, he documents and assigns exhibits to a team for forensic analysis.

“I am the only one who has access to the exhibit room and I have hand gloves that I wear so that there will be no contamination,” he said.

The PW3 said the two phones were received with pouches, including two documents in respect of the phones, from their investigators on Oct. 9, 2023.

He said he also had a form with him which whoever collects an exhibit from him must sign.

Akponimisingha sought to tender the Oppo and Tecno Phones in evidence and after the defence counsel, Agi, did not oppose the application, Justice Omotosho admitted them in evidence as Exhibits N and O respectively.

After the phones were tendered, Justice Omotosho signed the form brought by the witness.

Karngong was also cross-examined by the defence lawyer before he was discharged from the witness box

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Also, the 4th prosecution witness, B.E. Fungo, a Forensic and intelligence Analyst with ICPC, gave his testimony.

Fungo, a certified digital forensic analyst, said he joined the commission in 2021.

According To him, his job is to extract, analyse and report his findings.

He said the mobile devices of the suspended dean was submitted by investigators to the Forensic Division of the commission.

“Once it was received, it was assigned to my team.

“We check the documents of the phones, which include the request for analysis pointing out what the investigation wants us to check on the phone.

“These include the call logs, text messages, WhatsApp communications, etc.

“It also has a consent form which include the name of the owner of the device and password of the device if it has any.

“It also has a chain of custody of the phones; that is how the phones have moved from one person to another,” he said.

He said they ensured that the phones were properly charged and were on flight mode to avoid distraction.

Fungo said different extraction tools like digital camera, etc, were used in extracting information from the phones.

The PW4 said after the team completed the extraction on the two phones, they produced a report and a timeline chart.

The witness said the extractions from the phones included nude videos, pictures, text messages, etc, and they were stored in a 128-gigabyte Universal Serial Bus (USB).

The USB and the certificate of compliance were also tendered by Akponimisingha as evidence in support of their case.

The timeline chart was displayed in the open court while the PW4 gave analysis of their findings.

The court, however, stood down the matter to allow the ICPC put its house in order in its application to play the video evidence in open court.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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