Alleged N4.6bn fraud: EFCC witness insists son of ex-Sokoto Governor Sagir wrote his statements voluntarily

Efcc
EFCC operatives

 

An officer of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abubakar Madaki told an FCT high court on Wednesday that Sagir, a son of former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa wrote his statements voluntarily.

Madaki said this while testifying as the 1st prosecution witness (PW2) in the trial within trial prayed for by the defendant.

Sagir is the fourth defendant in the trial of former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda in alleged diversion N23.3 billion.

Others charged with Yuguda are former National Security Adviser (NSA); retired Col. Sambo Dasuki; former Sokoto State governor, Attahiru Bafarawa; his son’s company and Dalhatu Investment Limited, owned by Bafarawa and his son.

The EFCC is prosecuting them on amended 25-count -charge bordering on misappropriation, criminal breach of trust and receiving stolen property.

Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, the witness told the court that an investigation was opened based on a petition received from Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) on distribution of money to 78 companies without evidence of carrying out a contract or work.

” Dalhatu Investment Limited was discovered as one of the 78 companies alleged to have received money from ONSA without any documents to show that they bided for contracts.”

‘” The company is managed by Sagir, the 4th defendant. Some money was lodged into his company account and he disbursed same to others” he said.

The witness stated that analysis of the statement of account of Dalhatu Investment Limited from UBA where the money was paid, revealed that the company got N4.6billion.

According to the witness, Sagir later gave a breakdown of how he expended the N4.6 billion with a list of beneficiaries when he was invited to EFCC.

The witness stated on Nov. 24, 2015 , at the defendant was at the EFCC where he was shown all the available documents relating to the transactions.

” He went through them, and then wrote and signed the statement by himself.

” After the 1st statement, he requested for his lawyers and the 2nd statement was later written that day” he said.

The defendant, he said, wrote the statement in the presence of an operative, Hamza Abdullah.

” It can not be true that the statements were made under duress, the statements were very voluntary.

“On Nov. 17, 2016 he gave two statements before he left the EFCC headquarters. He told us that he has all the document details on how he distributed the funds” he said .

The witness told the court that he was not detained and said he thought he only came to submit the documents.

He added that the amount was N4. 728 billion but Sagir claimed it was N4. 633 billion.

During cross examination by Attahiru’s counsel, Prof. O. Olatoke, SAN the witness said that the defendant got to the EFCC on his own.

When asked if he was present in while the statements of the fourth defendant were taken, he said that all members of the team can witness the statement.

“This is what is called team work, on Nov.
28, he made statement in the presence of his lawyer”

When the 2nd defendant’s counsel, Zakari Garuba, asked wether the process was video recorded, the witness said no and asked questions where there are ambiguities.

Counsel for the 1st defendant, O Ayodele asked the witness if the Sagir was detained between Nov.24, 2015 and Dec. 15, 2015, the witness answered yes.

” He was detained but I don’t know how many days “.

After listening to the witness testimony, Justice Yusuf Halilu adjourned the case until April 23 and April 24 for definite continuation of hearing of the trial -within- trial .

On Jan. 30, the second prosecution witness (PW2) , Kazeem Yusuf told the court how Sagir was linked with receiving of N4. 6 billion and disbursed to different beneficiaries.

“We invited Sagir for questioning and took his statements.

“We investigated his statement of account and transactions.

” We interviewed him and he volunteered his statements made in the presence of all the members of the (investigating) team” he said.

When the prosecuting counsel sought to tender Sagir Attahiru’s statements through the witness, his counsel, Prof J.O Olatoke , SAN, objected to their admissibility on the ground that they were not voluntarily obtained.

Olatoke told the court that the statements were made based on inducement, intimidation, receipt and invitation to settlement .

He therefore , prayed the court to grant a trial-within-trial to determine voluntariness of the statements.

Based on this, Justice Halilu ordered for a trial-within-trial to determine the voluntariness of the statements made by Sagir.

 

NAN

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