From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday played an audio recording to prove the $25,000 bribery allegations against the former senator for Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, before the Abuja division of the Federal High Court.
Sani is standing trial on a two-count charge of bribery, name-dropping and influence-peddling.
The EFCC has accused the former senator of fraudulently obtaining the sum of $25,000 from the Chairman of ASD Group of Companies and board member, Peugeot Automobile Ltd, Alhaji Sani Dauda.
It alleges that the ex-senator collected the money from Dauda under the false pretence that it would be used to bribe suspended EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Magu so as to shield Dauda from investigation and prosecution.
The anti-corruption commission has also accused Sani of collecting the sum of $15,000 from Dauda under the guise that the Chief Justice of Nigeria approved that the money should be given to four judges and a prosecutor for them to hands-off his case and that of his estranged in-law, one Abubakar Musa.
Senator Sani has denied and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Trial Justice IE Ekwo had on October 21, 2020, admitted in evidence the $25,000 cash and two Samsung phones.
At the resumption of the trial, the audio evidence was tendered through the 10th prosecution witness (PW10), Bako Aliyu, who brought two of the electronic evidence.
The 20-minutes audio recording, according to the prosecuting agency, contained a conversation between Senator Sani and Alhaji Dauda, the nominal complainant in the case.
The audio recording, which was played before Justice Ekwo on Monday, was in the Hausa language.
Prosecution counsel Ekele Iheanacho informed that the conversation in a video that failed to play due to technical problems was the English translation of the audio recording.
Aliyu, an operative of the EFCC, told the court that the investigation revealed that there was evidence of a financial transaction between the former senator and the complainant, Alhaji Dauda.
He tendered in evidence a proforma invoice that ASD Motors issued for the purchase of a Peugeot car valued at N17.5 million.
The witness told the court that the invoice was part of several documents found when the residence of the defendant was searched while the investigation was ongoing.
He said former EFCC Chairman, Magu, who was interviewed during the investigation, denied demanding any money from the defendant.
While being cross-examined by the counsel to the defendant, Mr Abdul Ibrahim, SAN, the witness, said it was the complainant himself that handed over the $25,000 to the EFCC.
The defence lawyer further queried the witness to confirm if the N17.5 million was not in relation to a transaction for the purchase of a vehicle since the complainant is a car dealer.
Responding, the witness insisted that there was no evidence of payment for a vehicle for which the proforma invoice of N17.5 million was raised.
He told the court that the EFCC began the investigation after it received an oral complaint from Alhaji Dauda.
The 10th prosecution witness said he was not aware of the complainant having any pending case with either the EFCC or the CJN to warrant the $25,000 bribe to the defendant.
Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter until Tuesday for further cross-examination of the witness.