N109bn fraud trial: No document missing in ex-AGF Idris’ case file

…Trial Within Trial Begins on Defendants’ Statements

The alleged N109 billion corruption and money laundering trial of former Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris continued today before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory with a trial within trial to determine whether the statements made by the defendants to the EFCC were obtained voluntarily.

Idris was re-arraigned alongside Olusegun Akindele, Mohammed Usman and Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited on October 27, 2022 on a 13-counts charge that bordered on alleged misappropriation of the sum of N109 billion.

The court had on November 23, 2022 adjourned hearing in the case after counsel to the 1st defendant objected to further evidence by prosecution witness, Hayatudeen Suleiman who had been examined on 13 of the statements made by the 1st defendant. He was testifying on the 13th statement already presented to the court when the defence objected, alleging that the statement was obtained from the defendant under duress.

The trial resumed today for a trial within trial to prove the voluntariness, or otherwise, of the statements by the defendants. Attempt by the defence counsel, Chris Uche, SAN, to argue the contention of the 1st defendant that his statements were obtained under duress was objected to by Leke Atolagbe who appeared for the prosecution. He argued that the onus was on the prosecution to prove that the statements by the defendants were obtained voluntarily. The court agreed with him.

However, proceedings could however not continue after the defence counsel, Uche, SAN observed that the 13th statement obtained on 5th July, 2022, on which the prosecution counsel sought to examine his witness, was omitted from the proof of evidence front-loaded to the court by the prosecution.

The prosecution acknowledged the inadvertent omission and sought for an adjournment to produce the statement.

Justice Halilu Yusuf adjourned till May 11, for continuation of trial.

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