The federal government, Monday commenced the trial of three Lebanese nationals charged with six charges of terrorism-related offences at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The prosecutors also filed fresh charges, sixteen counts of money-laundering and illegal importation of goods, among other crimes, against the accused persons. They pleaded not guilty. The prosecution called three witnesses, who were mainly officials of the Department of State Security Service (DSS), to testify in the case.
The foreign nationals – Mustapha Fawaz (49), Abdallah Thahini (48) and Talal Ahmad Roda (51) – were charged along with their companies – Amigo Supermarket and Wonderland Amusement Park Resort.
Among the new charges filed against them, that they conspired and engaged in unlawful importation of prohibited firearms between 1988 and 2008 in Kano.
The prosecution witnesses, who was hooded for security reasons, told the court how they investigated the case and recovered arms and ammunition from the accused persons’ premises.
The first witness identified as DSS1 told the court that he coordinated the investigation and that the accused made voluntary statements where they admitted being members of the militant group, Hezbollah – which has been labelled a terrorist organisation by the United States.
The second witness identified as DSS2, led the team that conducted searches on the Wonderland Park and Amigo Supermarket, where they recovered arms and ammunition.
He, however, stunned the court when, upon being asked to read the inventory of the items recovered from the two premises, (about 45 items) most of the items, except three, were not related to arms and ammunition.
They were common items such computer accessories, SIM cards, travelling documents, camera, and identity card, among others.
The third witness identified as DSS3, told the court how one of the accused persons, Thahini, was arrested at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano with $61,170 while allegedly trying to leave the country.
The trial resumes at noon today (Tuesday), to enable the prosecution file and serve the defence copies of written statements of its remaining five witnesses.