N5 billion fake tyres: Absence of interpreter stalls trial of two Chinese importers…..

The inability of the prosecution to produce an interpreter on Wednesday stalled the planned arraignment of two Chinese and a Nigerian accused of importing fake tyres into the country.

Taolung Shen, 36, Xu Jing Yao, 22, and Chinedu Madubuike alongside their companies, Sino Nigeria Import and Export Ltd and Nedeca International Limited, were charged with four counts of importation of sub-standard tyres by the Attorney General of the Federation.

The defendants allegedly imported the tyres, said to be the largest seizure in Nigeria, in February.

On Wednesday, the prosecution counsel, Babatunde Alajogun, asked Justice Mojisola Olatoregun allow the charge dated March 3 to be read to the accused.

But the defence counsel, Victor Opara, said the first and second defendants did not speak English.

“I normally discuss with them by means of an interpreter,” he said.

When the judge asked Mr. Alajogun why he did not arrange for an interpreter, the lawyer said he assumed the defendants could speak English because he once heard Mr. Shen speak English.

“It was at your request that we took the case today because you said they had been in custody,” the judge told the prosecutor.

“So why are you not ready? Did you ask if they could speak English? Are you not supposed to ask?

“They are expected to understand the charge. They are expected to follow the proceedings. That’s when you would have fulfilled the legal requirements.”

The judge declined Mr. Alajogun’s request for the Chinese nationals to be remanded in prison pending the availability of an interpreter for their trial.

“I will not. They will go back to where they came from. I don’t persecute people here,” he said.

Mr. Opara promised to bring an interpreter from the Chinese consulate.

“I undertake to produce an acceptable interpreter from the Consulate within 24 hours,” he said.

Justice Olatoregun adjourned till March 20 for arraignment.

The charges:

COUNT 1

That you Taolung Shen, Xu Jim Yao, Sino Nigeria Limited, Nedecca International Limited and Chinedu Madubuike sometimes in the month of February, 2017 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court did conspire among yourself and imported tyres which did not meet the relevant Nigerian industrial standards through means of stuffing various sizes of tyres into one, knowing same to be in a dangerous state or injurious to life of human beings and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 518(2) of the Criminal Code Act Cap C.38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

COUNT 2

That you Taolung Shen, Xu Jim Yao, Sino Nigeria Limited, Nedecca International Limited and Chinedu Madubuike sometimes in the month of February, 2017 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court did import tyres that did not comply with mandatory standards on account of your act of stuffing various sizes of tyres into one which makes the tyres to be unfit for purpose and not complying with the mandatory standard and thereby committed an offence 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.

COUNT 3

That you Taolung Shen, Xu Jim Yao, Sino Nigeria Limited, Nedecca International Limited and Chinedu Madubuike sometimes in the month of February, 2017 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court did import tyres that did not meet the relevant Nigeria industrial standard on account of your act of stuffing various tyres into one, knowing same to be in a dangerous state and likely to endanger human lives and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 320(2) (b) of the Criminal Code Act Cap C 38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

COUNT 4

That you Taolung Shen, Xu Jim Yao, Sino Nigeria Limited, Nedecca International Limited and Chinedu Madubuike sometimes in the month of February, 2017 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court did fail to furnish returns on the condition of the imported tyres as required by law and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 32(1) of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria Act No. 14, 2015 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

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