Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday, gave graphic details of how 12 bank accounts were opened for the former Chairman of Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina and his family members.
Testifying before the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, the EFCC through its witness, Mrs. Mairo Bashir, told the court how she helped Maina to deposit N3 billion transferred from Police Pension Funds with a bank in 2011.
The witness, who is the wife of Maina’s late younger brother, Alhaji Bashir Maina, however, said the money was later transferred to the Treasury Single Account (TSA), with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, she told the court that she knew Maina’s son, who was in the dock.
“Yes my lord. I know the defendant, his name is Faisal Maina. He is the son of Abdurasheed Maina who is the younger brother to my late husband, Bashir Abdulahi Maina.”
She informed Justice Okon Abang that she was the one that opened accounts for Maina’s two farms.
“I know the business name, Alhaji Faisal Abdullahi Farms. I approached Abdulrasheed Maina sometimes in 2011 to solicit for deposit.
“Abdulrasheed Maina then gave the bank a deposit of N3 billion from the Police Pension Funds. In 2012, the N3 billion was moved to the Single Treasury Account.
“Subsequently I approached him for more deposit and I was able to open 12 accounts for him and members of his family, among which was Faisal Abdullahi Farms 2,” Mrs. Bashir stated.
But when the account opening documents of the said accounts were tendered in evidence by the prosecution counsel, objections for their admissibility was raised by the defence lawyer, Mr. Francis Oronsaye, on the ground that they were not signed by the witness.
Oronsaye who relied on section 83(1) of the Evidence Act, contented that the document could only be tendered by its maker, stressing that the Prosecution Witness was not competent to tender them before the court since she did not make the documents.
He further argued that Incorporation documents of the Farms, being public documents, ought to have been certified by the prosecution in line with Section 104 of the Evidence Act, 2011.
However, the EFCC counsel noted had given evidence that the documents were co-signed by the defendant.
He said it was trite that the defendant could not be compelled to testify in his own case, arguing that the account documents could be tendered through any relevant witness that was familiar with the process.
In his ruling, Justice Abang held that under Section 83 (2) (a) of the Evidence Act, the documents could be admitted through the witness “to prevent undue delay” in the matter.
He held that the account documents could be tendered through any staff of the bank, including the witness.
“The documents in my view are relevant to the case of the prosecution. Relevance is the hallmark of admissibility”, Justice Abang held.
Consequently, he admitted the account opening documents in evidence, saying they would be marked as exhibit A series.
Although further proceedings we’re shifted to November 21 and 22, the court would hear Faisal’s bail application on Thursday.
Justice Abang has equally refused an application by the defence counsel for the transferr of his client from Police custody to the Kuje Correctional Facility.