N109b fraud: EFCC deceived me, ex-AGF alleges 

The former Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, has accused the Economic and Financial Crime Commission of deceiving him to admit to the allegations against him.

The ex-AGF claimed that the EFCC told him they wanted to use him to get the Minister of Finance and some other governors.

Idris and his co-defendants are standing trial on 14 charges of stealing and criminal breach of trust to the tune of N109.5 billion.

Idris was arraigned alongside Godfrey Olusegun Akindele and Mohammed Kudu Usman, and a firm — Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited.

In a statement said to be written by Idris and dated May 16, 2022, which was partly read out by the prosecution witness, Hayatudeen Ahmed, in court on Thursday, the ex-AGF stated that the EFCC promised him that whatever information he gave would not be used against him.

The prosecution witness read the statement after being asked to while being cross-examined by Idris’ counsel, Chris Uche (SAN).

After reading, the prosecution witness stated that such assurances were not given, and neither was he under duress.

He said, “There was no such assurance. The statements made by Idris on the 25th, 26th, and 31st of May 2022 and that 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.”

Earlier, when the hearing commenced on Thursday, the counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs(SAN), applied to tender video evidence that contained a recorded interview of the first to third defendants at the Commission’s Monitoring Unit Chairman’s office as an exhibit before the court.

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 the Administration Of Criminal Justice Act/Laws.

Counsel for Idris, 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 was contained in the compact disc device sent to him.

Other counsels aligned themselves with Uche’s submission.

However, Justice Yusuf Halilu in a brief ruling overruled their objections.

He said: “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.”

After listening to the cross-examination, Justice 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, who is the second defendant in the case and Idris are standing trial alongside Mohammed Kudu Usman and Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited, on 14 charges bordering on diversion of public funds to the tune of N109.5 billion.

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