- Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has claimed that former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide, made his statement freely
- The prosecuting witness also told a Federal High Court that he was competent to investigate the former minister
- Akinjide is standing trial alongside a Peoples Democratic Party chieftain, Olarenwaju Otti and Ayo Adeseun
A prosecution witness, Usman Zakari, on Wednesday, May 16, told a Federal High Court in Lagos that he was competent to investigate a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Jumoke Akinjide, charged with N650 million fraud.
Akinjide is standing trial alongside a Peoples Democratic Party chieftain, Olarenwaju Otti, and Ayo Adeseun.
They had pleaded not guilty to the charge slammed on them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and were granted bail.
At the commencement of trial, the defence counsel had objected to the admissbility of the statement of the first accused on the grounds that same was not voluntarily obtained.
Consequently, the court ordered a trial-within-trial to test the voluntariness of the statement obtained by the EFCC, News Agency of Nigeria reports.
Zakari, an operative of EFCC and first prosecution witness in the trial-within-trial, was cross-examined on Wednesday, May 16.
Mr Rotimi Oyedepo appeared for EFCC, while Mr Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), Mr Micheal Lana, Mr Akinola Oladeji, appeared for the first, second and third accused.
Zakari told the court that when the defendant visited the commission on August 9, 2016, she came in the company of a lawyer and her husband.
He said she was interviewed for 20 minutes in respect of the N650 million and she volunteered a statement thereafter.
The witness said that Akinjide specifically volunteered to reduce her interview into writing.
He told the court that after the 20 minutes of interview, the accused was cautioned before she began to volunteer her statement in writing.
Ayorinde asked if the commission had a police manual for interrogation and who determined the manner of interrogation?
On who the team leader was and whether he had any training, the witness told the court that he, Usman Zakari, was the team leader.
Zakari clarified that the commission did not interrogate suspects, but conducted interviews.
He told the court that he had undergone training on suspect processing, handling and care which entails how to relate with complainants and suspects.
“I joined the commission in 2004, and I have been trained in suspect processing, handling and care.
“I have been trained and retrained both internationally and locally in respect of suspects handling and care as well as suspects processing.
“Internationally, I obtained my training from the National Crime Agency (NCA) United Kingdom and locally, I acquired a training in Nigeria from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in June 2015,” he said.
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Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had reported that Ms Jumoke Akinjide, a former minister of state for the Federal Capital Territory under ex-president Goodluck Jonathan was granted an application she filed.
The former minister had urged the court to release her international passport so as to enable her travel abroad for medical treatment.
The EFCC stage a walk against corruption on NAIJ.com TV: