N243m Diezani Slush Funds: Noose Tightens On INEC Officials
As Court Admits Incriminating Statements
Justice Fadawu Umar of the State High Court, Maiduguri, on Friday, August 17, 2018 overruled objections by Jummai Lawan Ibrahim, Kabir Bello and Musa Buba Amshi, to the admissibility of their statements made to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [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.
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 an amended six count amended charge for the offence 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.
They argued 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.
He also called 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 to 4th October, 2017 for continuation of trial.
In a recent development, INEC is battling a stiff challenge from the National Assembly over the approval of over 180 billion Naira for the 2019 general elections.