Justice Fadawu Umar of the State High Court, Maiduguri, has overruled objections by Jummai Lawan Ibrahim,
Kabir Bello, and Musa Buba Amshi, to the admissibility of their statements made to the EFCC.
The judge admitted Jummai, Bello and Amshi’s statements in evidence and marked them as exhibit F-F8, G-G9, and H-H8 respectively.
The investigation revealed that Ibrahim, a retired Assistant
Director, Public Affairs Directorate of the INEC, in connivance
with Bello and Amshi (serving officials of INEC) allegedly conspired
to collect slush funds from a former Minister of Petroleum
Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the build-up to the 2015 presidential election.
They are facing a six-count amended charge for the offense
of criminal conspiracy to procure benefit for public officers and corrupt receipt of monitory benefits.
Their counsels, Muhammad Umaru, and
Zannah Hamza objected to the admissibility
of the statements, arguing that they were obtained
from their client through inducement, duress, threat, intimidation,
and promises, thus necessitating the commencement of a trial-within-trial.
In proving its case that the statements were made voluntarily
by the accused persons, the prosecution counsel, Khalid Sanusi,
called one witness, Salisu Muhammad Rabiu, an operative on
the EFCC’s Advance Fee Fraud and Extractive Industries Unit,
who testified that the statements were made by all
the accused persons themselves and that they were not coerced into making them.
According to him, “the statements were taken in the
office devoid of threat, inducement, promise or duress.
In the Commission, we operate in accordance with International
Best Practice and Operatives are encouraged not to rely
on confessional statements” Salisu said.
Justice Umar, thereafter, adjourned the case to 4th October 2018 for further hearing.