By Lukman Olabiyi
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday ordered that two Chinese and a Nigerian docked for allegedly importing sub-standard automobile tyres worth about N5 billions into the country be remanded in prison.
The Chinese, Taolung Shen, Xu Jing Yao and Chinedu Madubuike as well as two companies, Sino Nigeria Limited and Nedeca International Limited, were yesterday arraigned, in a case brought against them by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
In the four-count charges, the Federal Government accused the Chinese and their alleged accomplices of conspiring “among yourselves to import tyres, which did not meet the relevant Nigeria industrial standards,” an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 26 (2)(b)(iii) of the Standards Organisation Act No. 14, 2015 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
However, when the charge were read and interpreted to the Chinese citizens by one Fred Guichu Zhong, from the Chinese High Commission in Nigeria, the defendants pleaded not guilty.
Their Nigerian co-defendants equally pleaded not guilty.
Following their plea, the prosecuting counsel for the AGF, Mr. Yusuff Lawan, urged Justice Olatoregun to fix a date for commencement of trial, adding that the prosecution had four witnesses to prove the charges.
Lawyer to the two Chinese informed the court of a pending bail applications for his clients. He said the applications were separately supported with 14 paragraphs written addresses and urged the court to adopt same as his argument.
In the same vein, lawyer to Madubuike, the fifth defendants in the charge, Napoleon Nwachukwu, urged the court to grant his client bail in the most liberal term.
Responding, the prosecutor said he had filed counter-affidavits to the bail applications.
Consequently, the trial judge, Justice Olatoregun, therefore adjourned till today for ruling on the bail applications.
She however, ordered that the defendants be remanded in prison’s custody.