From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
A co-defendant in the alleged money laundering trial of the former Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, has told a Federal High Court, Abuja that he had no case to answer in the matter.
The defendant, Mr. Aliyu Abubakar who is represented by Wole Olanikpekun, SAN, said the extra judicial statements obtained from him by the prosecution agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC were not made voluntarily.
His counsel, Olanikpekun had during the adoption of the final written addresses of parties in the tria-within-trial told the court that his client has no case to answer.
Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) closed its case against him.
Olanipekun, in his argument, said that the extra-judicial statements obtained from his client by the officers of the EFCC, including Mr Bala Sanga, during investigation were not made voluntarily.
He said that the anti-graft agency admitted in their application they filed that Sanga, the former prosecuting lawyer, was present during the extraction of the statements.
He alleged that Sanga induced Abubakar to implicate Adoke and others.
“Bala Sanga was there, he was the investigator and prosecutor at the same time.
“Bala Sanga was the one who was inducing the 2nd defendant (Abubakar). He was the one saying bring this man in, bring that one in,” he said.
The senior lawyer argued that Sanga, who doubled as investigator and prosecutor, should have been in the court to clear all doubts.
Olanipukun insisted that his client was coerced to make the statements.
He, therefore, prayed the court to dismiss the EFCC’s argument and uphold Abubakar’s no-case submission.
Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, who appeared for Adoke (1st defendant), also aligned with Olanipekun’s submission.
Counsel to the anti-corruption commission, Offem Uket, disagreed with Olanipekun.
Uket argued that during the trial-within-trial, it was revealed that Abubakar’s lawyer was always present when the statements were taking.
The lawyer, who said Abubakar was neither induced nor forced to make the statements, urged the court to dismiss the no-case submission.
Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter until Dec. 12 for ruling on the no-case submission.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Abubakar, while being led in evidence as defence witness in the trial-within-trial on July 19, told the court that Sanga, an EFCC officer threatened him to indict former President Goodluck Jonathan in alleged money laundering suit.
He also alleged that the officer threatened him to indict the ex-minister and former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Adoke.
Adoke was the Minister of Justice during President Jonathan’s administration between April 6, 2010 and April 29, 2015.
Aminu Lawal, the second prosecution witness in the trial-within-trial, had, on May 10, said that Abubakar was neither enforced to make statements nor induced to implicate others in the course of the investigation, and that he was never threatened to be detained.
Lawal was part of the investigators who took the defendant’s statements on Dec. 31, 2019 and on Jan. 6, 2020.
But Abubakar, a business mogul, told the judge that the extra-judicial statements he made on Dec. 31, 2019 and on Jan. 6, 2020 were not made voluntarily.
He said on December 31, 2019 when he was invited to the EFCC’s office, Sanga, threatened to detain him if he refused to make extra-judicial statement.
Besides, Abubakar said on January 6, 2022, Sanga, who introduced himself as the new prosecutor in the matter, told him that there was an evidence before him (Sanga) which showed that he (Abubakar) gave the sum of 20 million dollars to Adoke.
Abubakar also told the court that Sanga informed him that there was another evidence which indicated that he (Abubakar) gave the sum of 50 million dollars to ex-President Jonathan.