N650m allege fraud: Akinjide’s statement was taken under caution- EFCC

May 17th, 2018

An investigator with economic and financial crime commission EFCC Usman Zakari on Wednesday have narrated how he obtained the voluntry statement from the embattled former minister of Capital teritary Oloye Jumoke Akinjide when she honoured the invitation extended to her over N650m allege Money lundering from NNPC coffer through former minister of petroleum resources Mrs Diezani.
Akinjide is standing trial alongside senator Ayo Adeseun and Mr Olarewaju Otiti both are chieftains of Peoples Democratic party PDP in Oyo state

At the reaume of hearing today before justice Muslim Sule Hassan Akinjide’s counsel chief Bolaji Ayorinde SAN thrown series of questions to Zakari about the voluntriness of his client’s statement to EFCC.
In one of the he ask witness can be through to say that you are not a police man.
The witness replied I am not a police man my Lord
Ayorinde then ask when did Zakari joined EFCC
The investigator said I joined EFCC in 2004/2005.
The senior Advocate of Nigera also ask whether EFCC have interrogation manual.
Zakari replied , my Lord I want to be on record that EFCC does not interrogate but we interview and we don’t have interview manual, we interview base on our training and experience.
Ayorinde then ask what are the training you have go through
Zakari replied by saying I have been trained both locally and internationally
I attended National Crime agency United kingdom and Federal Bureau of investigation in June, 2015.
Ayorinde then ask that base on your experience how did you obtain statement from my client
Zakari replied that after twenty minutes interview with Mrs Akinjide, she volunteer to reduce into writing.
Ayorinde then ask when did the 1st defendant left EFCC after her statement of 9th of August, 2006.
Zakari replied she left the EFCC in afternoon.
But Ayorinde said I put it to you that my client left your office at about 6:30pm
But Zakari replied that is not true my Lord
Ayorinde said my Lord at this point I want to inform my Lord of our earlier request of some documents we need from EFCC.
He said
1. attendance register,
2. Statement made on the 23rd of August, 2016 by Akinjide
3. N10m cheque issued by Akinjide’s husband a serving member of house of representatives representing Kwara North when he was detained.
However counsel to the economic and financial crime commission EFCC Rotimi Oyedepo inform the court that EFCC does not keep recovered funds , he said it has bean deposited in EFCC’s recovery main account domiciled with central banks of Nigeria.
But he said attendance register and movement book is with him in court.
However justice Hassan ordered the that the defence be served right in court.
Justice Hassan thereafter adjourned the trial to 5th and 6th of June for further cross extermination of in trial within trial.

The EFCC accused them of collecting N650m from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.

The anti-graft agency claimed that they ought to have “reasonably known that the money formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act,” adding that they handled it without going through any financial institution in contravention of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.

It said they acted contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2012, and were liable to punishment under Section 15(3) and 4 of the same Act.
But upon their arraignment on January 16, 2018, they pleaded not guilty and the court ordered a trial.

At a point, they mooted the idea of plea bargain but later abandoned it as they could not reach an agreement with the EFCC. During the trial-within-trial on Monday, the EFCC called the leader of its Special Task Force 4, which investigated Akinjide and others, Usman Zakari, as a witness.

Led in evidence by the prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, Zakari said he was surprised at the claim by Akinjide’s lawyer that the ex-minister was induced to make the five statements she made to the EFCC.

The investigator said, “I’m surprised. The 1st defendant (Akinjide), when she reported to our office, she came along with Barrister Olusegun Williams and her husband. I was the one that interviewed the 1st defendant. During the course of the interview, the payment receipt of the N650m, which the defendant signed at Fidelity Bank, was shown to her and she volunteered to react in writing regarding the payment receipt. There and then, I instructed my subordinate, Tosin Owobo, to caution her. And I read the cautionary words to her, which she understood same.”
Zakari said after writing the statement Akinjide appended her signature after which her lawyer, Williams also signed, stating that the statements were obtained from Akinjide in his presence.
He said it was after this that she was granted an administrative bail, with her husband standing as the surety.

“The statements of the 1st defendant of the 9th of August, 2016, August 25, 2016, 21st November 2016, December 2, 2016 and December 15, 2016 were voluntarily given by the 1st defendant; also, the statements are devoid of threat, inducement and promise,” Zakari said.

He added that after the statements were obtained neither Akinjide nor Williams lodged a complaint of any foul play with the EFCC authorities. The court admitted the statements, Akinjide’s bail application and bail bond as exhibits for identification. The statements of Adeseun and Otiti were equally admitted for identification. The judge adjourned till April 23 and 24, 2018 for the continuation of trial.

Earlier at the proceedings, Zakari, who appeared as the second prosecution witness in the main trial, narrated to the court how the EFCC arrested Adeseun in Ibadan and brought him to Lagos for interrogation.

He said at the time, Akinjide was out of the country and was sent a letter of invitation, which was replied by her lawyer, Williams.

He said following her return from abroad, Akinjide came to the EFCC’s office accompanied by Williams.

“During the course of that interview, the 1st defendant was confronted with the payment receipt, which she also confirmed the name, the address and the signature on Exhibit P1,” Zakari stated.
In the charges, the EFCC claimed that Akinjide gave a cash sum of N107.4m to Otti and N134.4m to Adeseun out of the N650m on March 26, 2015.

She also allegedly gave N26.5m cash to one Ayoka Lawani; N56.4m to one Alhaji Kunmi Mustapha; N28.6m to one Honourable Muraina Ajibola; N16m to one Honourable Yinka Taiwo and N10.7m to one Prince Ayuba.

Counsel for the EFCC, Oyedepo, said the cash payments exceeded the threshold stipulated by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2012.

He said Akinjide, Adeseun and Otiti acted contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2012, were liable to punishment under Section 15(3) and 4 of the same Act.‎

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