N109bn fraud: Former AGF, Idris made statement voluntarily -Witness

An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, witness, on Thursday, told an Abuja High Court, Maitama, that former Accountant-General of the Federation, AGF, Ahmed Idris, made his statement voluntarily.

The witness was led under-cross examination by EFCC counsel at the resumed hearing in the trial-within-trial, following Idris claim that his statement was made under duress, which necessitated the trial-within-trial to determine the veracity of his claim.

Idris had claimed that the EFCC promised that he would not be prosecuted by the commission, if he made the statement, which he did.

Idris, is facing a 14-count charge of gratification, abuse of office and money laundering to the tune of over N109 billion.

He is standing trial alongside three others: his company, Mr. Godfrey Akindele and Mohammed Usman.

At Thursday hearing, Hayatuddeen Ahmad, First Prosecution Witness, PW1, informed the court that Idris freely volunteered his statement to the commission and was neither pressured nor deceived to do so.

The PW1 said that at no time was the defendant promised that he would not be prosecuted by the Commission.

READ ALSO: Decentralise NIMC registration, SSR urges President Tinubu

Under cross-examination by prosecution counsel, the PW1 said: “There was no such deception of promise made to the first defendant.

“After he was cautioned, he was told that the matter would end up in court. The defendant came with his legal representative in the person of Gbenga Adeyemi, who witnessed the statement from beginning to the end.

“He signed to show that he understood the cautionary statement.”

According to the witness, Idris’s statement, “Was recorded in the Chairman’s Monitoring Unit, CMU, with a functional recording system and a chair for the convenience of the defendant. There was a table, light and the rest room.

“After the first defendant reported, cautionary words were written and administered to him, which he read and understood. The additional statement was in continuation of some of the issues involving investigation.”

Speaking further, the witness said: “There was an interview session involving the first, second and third defendants at the Chairman’s Monitoring Unit, CMU, where they discussed issues regarding the investigation.

“There was a video recording to buttress this issue to show how calm and peaceful the atmosphere of the interview at the Chairman’s Monitoring Unit, CMU was.”

The witness identified the cautionary statement made by the first defendant, dated May 25, 2022, and witnessed by his lawyer and other statements dated May 26, May 31, June 1, June 6, June 10 and June 27, 2022.

READ ALSO: Actress jailed 6 months for spraying, stepping on new Naira notes

The witness added that the recording was done using his official Samsung mobile phone, after which the video was processed into a DVD plate.

As the video was played in court, he said: “I can identify them, the gentleman seated in white is the third defendant, while the gentleman wearing grey “agbada” is the first defendant.

“The gentleman wearing a blue caftan is the second defendant. The person interacting with them is Mahmud Tukur, my immediate supervisor, who was the head of CMU 2.”

He added that Tukur and Mubarak Isa were also witnesses to the taking of Idris’s statements.

The judge admitted the DVD in evidence, marked as “TWT-A”, within-trial, Exhibit A.

Ahmad further said the first, second and third defendants benefitted from a non-existent consultancy from the Office of the Accountant General, while the first defendant was in charge, stating that it was the sharing formula of the money they illegally got was what was discussed in the video.

After the witness was cross-examined by counsel to the first defendant, Justice Halilu adjourned the matter till March 20, 2024, for continuation of the trial-within-trial.

Idris was arrested on May 16, 2022, by the EFCC for diversion of funds and money laundering.

He was subsequently arraigned on July 22, 2022, on 14-count charges before Justice Adeyemi Ajayi.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *