A former Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, had accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of deceiving him to admit to the allegations of graft against him.
This was contained in a written statement by Idris which was read in court on Thursday, February 1.
Idris alleged that the EFCC told him they wanted to use him to get the Minister of Finance and some state governors.
Idris and his co-defendants are standing trial on 14 charges of criminal breach of trust and stealing to the tune of N109.5 billion.
Idris was arraigned alongside Godfrey Akindele and Mohammed Usman, and a firm — Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited.
During court proceedings, a prosecution witness, Hayatudeen Ahmed, read out a statement dated May 16, 2022 said to have been written by Idris.
In the statement, Idris wrote that the EFCC promised him that whatever information he gave would not be used against him.
The witness was made to read the statement while being cross-examined by Idris’ lawyer, Chris Uche (SAN).
Uche said: “My client told me he was deceived into making the statements after the investigators assured him that he would not be prosecuted and that he was not the main target, that the Minister of Finance and some governors were the main target. The governors are those receiving derivation funds.”
However, the prosecution witness maintained that the EFCC gave the embattled ex-accountant general no such assurances.
“There was no such assurance. The statements made by Idris on the 25th, 26th, and 31st of May 2022 and those made on the 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 witness said.
Earlier, EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), applied to tender a video evidence which contained a recorded interview of the first to third defendants at the EFCC Monitoring Unit chairman’s office as exhibit before the court.
Jacobs said the video clip was to counter the defendants’ claims that they were interrogated in the absence of their lawyers and without video recordings, as required by the Administration Of Criminal Justice Act.
However, his lawyer objected to the admissibility of the video clip, contending that it was just sent to him a day before the hearing and he needed time to know what was contained in the compact disc.
Other counsels aligned themselves with Uche’s submission but Justice Yusuf Halilu overruled their objections.
“Admissibility and value are two different things. A document once admitted can also be useless or otherwise. The Defendants did not give reasons the video should not be admitted but complained about the time they were served. This video is hereby admitted as evidence,” the judge held.
Justice Halilu then adjourned the matter till March 20, 2024.