Former accountant-general of the federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris has claimed that he was decieved by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to admit his involvement in an alleged N109.4 billion fraud.
Idris is standing trial on a 14-count charge alongside Geoffrey Akindele, Mohammed Kudu Usman, and a firm — Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited, before a high court of the federal capital territory (FCT) in Maitama.
Idris was arrested on May 16, 2022, by the EFCC over alleged diversion of funds and money laundering.
Halilu Yusuf, the presiding judge, had ordered a trial-within-trial in the matter to enable the court to determine whether all the extra-judicial statements made by the former AGF to the EFCC should be admitted in evidence.
Chris Uche, counsel to Ahmed, alleged that the EFCC had assured the defendant that he would not be subjected to any trial if he gave details that would implicate a former minister of finance and some governors.
Idris urged the court to reject the said confessional statements which he said were obtained in violation of the provisions of sections 15(4) and 17(1) (2) of the ACJA 2015, as his lawyers were not present when he made them and the sessions were not recorded.
However, the EFCC, through one of its lead investigators, Hayatudeen Suleiman, denied the allegation.
Suleiman, who appeared as a witness on Thursday, said the statements by the first defendant were obtained voluntarily.
Under cross-examination by Rotimi Jacobs, prosecution counsel, the witness stated that “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 along with his legal representative in the person of Gbenga Adeyemi, who witnessed the statement from the beginning to the end and he also signed,” the witness told the court.
“We asked questions which he answered. The 1st defendant voluntarily made the statements and was also notified that it would be used in court for trial.
The witness further informed the court, that he “personally recorded the video with a Samsung mobile phone”.
“The video was taken after investigation showed that the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants benefited from non-existent consultancy from the office of the accountant-general while the 1st defendant was in office as the AGF,” he added.
“The sharing formula of the money involved was what was being discussed in the video.
“The 2nd defendant was giving a breakdown of how the money was shared.”
After playing the audio of the 15-minute video clip in open court, the witness admitted that no lawyer was present with the defendants during the interview session.
He also admitted that he did not notify the defendants before he carried out the video recording.
Also, contrary to his earlier claim that the video was recorded before the defendants made their statements, the witness further admitted that the recording was done on May 25, 2022, after the former AGF had already made some of the statements.
The case has been adjourned to March 20 for continuation of hearing in the trial-within-trial.
The judge also vacated an order he made on the last adjourned date revoking the bail of the 2nd defendant over his failure to appear in court.