Court hears MD Alliance Hospital, others’ no-case submission July 2

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May 21, 2024

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) charged the defendants alongside the Hospital with 11 counts bordering on illegal organ harvesting.
Justice Kezziah Ogbonnaya fixed the date after the defence counsel, Afam Osigwe, SAN and Richard Adeboju, made the application requesting 14 days to file their processes to that effect.
The defence counsel made the application after the prosecution counsel, Hassan Tahir applied for the discharge of his last  witness, Liman Shehu and closed his case.
Tahir however also asked for 14days to file his own processes while the defence counsel asked for seven days to reply on point of law.

Earlier, Shehu, Principal Intelligence Officer, NAPTIP was led in evidence by the prosecution.

Shehu said a suspected case of organ harvesting was reported on Sept.15, 2023 by Mr Salman Salawudeen and Mr Musa Yahaya, parents of underaged boys whose kidneys were removed in Alliance Hospital, Abuja.
” I interviewed the parents of the children individually, recorded their statements, read it to them and they signed and I counter signed.
” I interviewed the boys in the presence of their parents, recorded the statement of one of them and read it to him while the other boy wrote his statement by himself.
” He admitted in his written statement that N500,000 was paid to an account of a mobile phone vendor where he purchased a mobile phone.
“Investigations led us to the vendor, Abdullahi Mohammed’s shop at LART plaza in Mararaba, Nasarawa State and i interviewed him, recorded his statement, read it to him, he agreed it was his statement and signed.
” He admitted that a 16-year-old boy bought a mobile phone worth N290,000 and N500,000 was paid into his account instead of the cost of the mobile phone which he transferred into an account that the 16-year-old boy gave him.
” Using that transaction, an intelligence investigation to the case led to the arrest of Mr Akande Lanre in Kano State, who made the transfer of N500,000. He was brought to Abuja.
”I interviewed him, recorded his statement and read the statement to him and he signed.
” Lanre revealed that Olorunlaye, gave him N1,050,000 to keep for him and he accepted to help him because he was like a brother to him),” Shehu said.
He further said Olorunlaye was invited to NAPTIP office where he gave his statement. However, he hurt his finger and couldn’t write so he authorised Shehu to write it for him.
“I gave him the statement and he read it and I read it to him ans well and he admitted to the statement and signed and I countersigned.
“In his statement he admitted that he was contacted by the 16-year-old boy to sell his kidney and he told the boy to meet him at Alliance Hospital where he underwent blood and urine tests and he went back home.
” Olorunlaye called the boy after some days and his kidney was successfully removed with a promise of N1 million.
“Olorunlaye also admitted that he took one Stephen and another 16-year-old boy and handed them over to Ugochukwu and after their kidneys wete successfully removed , she gave him N3 million as payment for their kidneys at N1.5m each,” he said.
Shehu said Olorunlaye admitted he gave the victims N1million each and kept N1million for himself.
“We searched for additional two victims  but were only able to find Yahuza and took him to NAPTIP for an interview.
“In the course of investigations Ugochukwu was invited and she came with her lawyer for the interview. We administered the word of caution to her.
” In her statement, she admitted that she knows about the cases and that their surgeries were done in Alliance Hospital.We requested Alliance Hospital to submit to us the medical records of all the victims which they did.
” We also requested for the surgeon Abayomi and i interviewed him and he wrote his statement by himself under words of caution and he signed .
“He declared in his statement that he was the lead surgeon In the kidney donation surgery of the victims and could not remember if he asked them for their certificate of birth.
“We requested the presence of the M.D, he was interviewed in the presence of a friend of his Raymond and he wrote his statement by himself and signed and Raymond endorsed it.
The prosecuting counsel , Tahir asked Shehu to identify all the statements which he did.
Adepoju however cited Section 29 subsection 1 and 2 of the Evidence Act objecting to the admissibility of the statement written by Olorunlaye, Ugochukwu and the M.D saying it was made by inducement.
Osigwe also objected to the admissibility of the statement of the first defendant on the ground that obtaining the statement violated Sections 15(4 )and 17(2) of The Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).
He said there was no evidence to show that the statement presented to the court complies with the said section.
The prosecution submitted that the statement of Olorunlaye was relevant and admissible saying that the statements were administered under words of caution and endorsed.
He relied on section 17(2) of ACJA and said that it was not mandatory that the defendant ‘s statement must be taken in the presence of his counsel.
The judge, however admitted the statements as exhibits and overruled the objections made by the defence counsels.
She said Adepoju was not specific on the issue of inducement and what made the statement involuntary .
During cross-examination, Osigwe asked for the exhibit regarding the age of the 16-year-old victim , showing that he was actually 18 years old?
He also asked the witness if the M.D told him that he runs the hospital as a business and is not involved with the treatment of the patients and if he discovered it was true or not.
He asked if the witness discovered anything contrary from the surgeon saying he only gets involved at clinical stage after the donor and recipients are compatible.
He also asked if the witness was aware of the affidavit where the victims signed that they were donating their kidneys to their relatives willingly.
The witness however said he could not remember the document showing that he was 18 years.
Osigwe however informed the court that he had a motion on notice which he had served on the prosecution.
The prosecution in response said he was served with an affidavit at close of work on May 20 which contained new issues he needed to respond to adding that it is was not ripe for hearing.
Osigwe  prayed the  court for a short date in order for the prosecution to respond to his motion.
The judge then adjourned the matter until Wednesday to hear the motion on notice.
NAN
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