By Victor Ernest
The Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday ordered the remand in prison of the two Chinese and a Nigerian accused of importing N5bn worth of substandard automobile tyres.
The two Chinese are Taolung Shen and Xu Jing Yao, while the Nigerian is known as Chinedu Madubuike.
The presiding Judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, made the order after the accused persons were arraigned before her on four counts by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
They were arraigned alongside two companies, Sino Nigeria Limited and Nedeca International Limited.
The Court proceedings
Madubuike, who was listed as the fifth defendant, was arraigned in absentia as his counsel, Napoleon Nwachukwu, informed the court that the accused person was ill.
In the four 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.”
The accused persons were said to have allegedly stuffed various sizes of tyres into one another, an act, the Federal Government said, constituted a danger to Nigerians.
The defendants were said to have committed the alleged offence sometime in February, 2017.
The offence, the prosecuting counsel for the AGF, Yusuff Lawan, said, was contrary to and punishable under Section 26 (2)(b)(iii) of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria Act No. 14, 2015 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
Their Nigerian co-defendants equally pleaded not guilty.
Following their plea, the prosecutor, Lawan, urged Justice Olatoregun to fix a date for the commencement of trial, adding that the prosecution had four witnesses to call to prove the charges.
Counsel for the Chinese, Victor Opara, said he was not opposed to the prayer for a trial date but notified the judge of two separate bail applications for his clients.