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Alleged N109b fraud: EFCC deceived me, ex-AGF alleges

The former Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, on Thursday accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission( EFCC) of deceiving him into accepting criminal charges preferred against him.

The former AGF is standing trial at the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja on charges of stealing and fraudulent diversion of public funds to the tune of N109.5 billion.

Idris made the allegations in court at Thursday’s proceeding when a witness who is an investigating officer with the EFCC, was asked to read out a portion of Idris’s statement made on May 16, 2022, in the course of an investigation into the allegations of fraud brought against the former AGF.

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The counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) called the commission’s investigating officer to present video evidence before the court and sought the same to be tendered as exhibit.

The witness, while giving evidence in chief, noted that the said video recordings were made on the 26 of May, containing an interview of the 1st and 3rd respondents in the office of the EFCC Chairman at the Monitoring unit of the Commission.

He noted that after the interview, the defendants made statements regarding what was discussed in the interview.

He further stated that the Statements made by Idris on the 25th , 26th and 31st of May 2022 and that of the one made on 1st, 6th, 10th, 20th of June 2022 and 5 July 2022 were made willingly by the defendants contrary to the claims that they were allegedly made under duress by the defendants.

The prosecution counsel told the court that the video clip sought to be tendered was to counter the claim by the defendants that they were interrogated in the absence of their lawyer and without video recordings and in accordance with Administration Of Criminal Justice Act/Laws.

Counsel for Idris, Chris Uche (SAN), however, objected to the admissibility of the video clip, noting that it was just sent to him a day before the hearing and would need time to know what is contained in the compact disc device sent to him.

Other councils to defendants aligned themselves with Uche’s submission and asked the court to not admit the video evidence .

However Justice Yusuf Halilu in a brief ruling, while noting that Admissibility and value to a substance are two different things, as a document once admitted can also be useless, and accordingly admitted the video into evidence.

After the video was tendered as evidence and shown in court, Chris Uche commenced cross-examination against the witness.

The EFCC witness noted that as a member of the investigating panel, he doesn’t remember How many statements were tendered by the defendant.

On the issue of when the said video clip, which aided the statements written, was produced, the witness pointed out that the statements made on January 22, May 15, 17, 21, 23, 2022 and were made before the said video.

He pointed out that no cautionary statements were issued before the said interview was conducted, the witness told the court that the defendants were not aware that there was an ongoing video recording and admitted that there was no lawyer present in the interview.

While urging the witness to read from the Statement written by Idris on May 16, he noted that the Defendant stated that they was promised that whatever information given wasn’t going to be used against him rather that the bigger picture was on the minister of finance and other top officials.

After Cross-examination of the witness, Justice Yusuf Halilu adjourned the trial to March 20, 2024.

The trial Judge also dismissed his initial order revoking the bail of Geoffrey Akindele, one of the defendants in the trial.

Akindele, is a 2nd defendant in the case, Idris, 1st defendant is standing trial alongside Mohammed Kudu Usman and Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited, on a 14-count charge bordering on diversion of public funds to the tune of N109.5 billion.

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About Deola Oluwafemi

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