Drama In Court As Vital Document In Ex-AGF, Ahmed Idris, Fraud Trial Gets Missing

The trial of former Nigeria’s accountant-general, Idris Ahmed, was stalled over a missing document in court, OduNews reports.

Drama In Court As Vital Document In Ex-AGF, Ahmed Idris, Fraud Trial Gets Missing
N109bn Fraud: Missing Statement Of Ex-Accountant General, Idris Ahmed, Stalls Trial

This occurred because one of the statements dated July 5, 2022, which he made to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission during the investigation was missing as the EFCC, the court and the defence team could not locate the statement in their files.

Earlier, on October 27, 2022, EFCC had re-arraigned Idris on 13 counts which bordered on alleged misappropriation of the sum of N109 billion alongside Olusegun Akindele, Mohammed Usman and Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited.

The EFCC said the offence contravened sections 155 and 315 of the Penal Code Act Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.

The anti-graft agency alleged that between February and December 2021, Idris accepted from Akindele, a gratification of N15. 1 billion.

It said the transaction was carried out to accelerate the payment of 13 per cent derivation to the nine oil-producing states of the Federation, through the office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

The anti-graft agency also alleged that N84. 3 billion from the Federal Government’s account was converted by the first and second defendants between February and November. 2021.

At Wednesday’s proceedings, the ex-Accountant General denied that some of the statements he made to EFCC in respect of the N109 billion alleged fraud were made voluntary.

Idris had asserted that the key statements proposed by the EFCC to be used against him in the corruption suit were made under duress.

Following the allegation, Justice Halilu Yusuf ordered a trial within a trial to verify the claim.

Although the EFCC had presented its witness, Mr Hayatudeen Suleiman, EFCC operative for examination on 13 different statements obtained from Idris, trouble however arose when it was discovered that a statement dated July 5, 2022, and said to be vital to the trial could not be found in the bundles of documents uploaded to the court by EFCC.

Trouble worsened when EFCC, seeking to examine the witness on the disputed statement, could not find the statement in its case file.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Chris Uche, leading the legal team of the former Accountant General also told the court that the statement was not part of those supplied to him by EFCC.

Uche said that the anti-graft agency for reasons best known to it, had suppressed some documents and that the missing statement of the defendant may be one of the suppressed documents.

“We came fully prepared for this case to be substantially dealt with but unfortunately, EFCC appears to be dragging us back by not putting its house in order.

“If it were a civil matter, I would have asked for a cost of N5M for our precious time wasted by the prosecution”.

Efforts by Justice Halilu Yusuf to salvage the situation were unsuccessful as the statement could also not be found in the court’s record.

At this point, the EFCC’s lawyer, who insisted that the statement is vital to his case, applied to Justice Yusuf to grant him an adjournment to enable his to search for the missing statement and serve on the defendant as required by law.

After consultations among the lawyers, Justice Yusuf fixed May 11, for the continuation of the trial at the instance of the EFCC.

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