Yusuf Halilu, Justice of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Maitama, Abuja, on Thursday, admitted new evidence against the former Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, in the ongoing trial-within-trial.
Idris, the first defendant with 14 charges involving allegations of gratification, abuse of office, and money laundering amounting to over N109 billion, took an unexpected turn by claiming that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) obtained his statement under duress.
According to a post on X by the EFCC, this prompted the trial-within-trial to determine the validity of his claim.
The former AGF is standing trial alongside three others: his company, Godfrey Olusegun Akindele, and Mohammed Kudu Usman.
During the recent court session, Hayatuddeen Ahmad, the First Prosecution Witness (PW1), informed the court that Idris voluntarily provided his statement to the Commission, denying any coercion.
“Contrary to Idris’s assertion, PW1 revealed that there was no promise made to the defendant that he would be immune from prosecution.
“Under cross-examination by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, PW1 clarified that the defendant was cautioned and informed that the matter would end up in court.
“The witness detailed the recording of Idris’s statement at the Chairman’s Monitoring Unit (CMU), emphasizing the presence of legal representation during the process.
“He identified cautionary statements and additional statements made by Idris on various dates. A video recording of an interview involving the defendants at the CMU was played in court, corroborating the witness’s account.
“The judge admitted the DVD as evidence, marked as “TWT-A,” trial-within-trial Exhibit A. Ahmad further disclosed that the defendants benefited from a non-existent consultancy during Idris’s tenure as the AGF. The sharing formula of the allegedly illegally acquired funds was discussed in the video.
“After the witness’s cross-examination by the counsel to the first defendant, Halilu adjourned the matter until March 20, 2024, for the continuation of the trial-within-trial”, the post reads in part.
Ahmed Idris was arrested on May 16, 2022, by the EFCC for diversion of funds and money laundering, subsequently facing arraignment on July 22, 2022, on the 14-count charges before Justice Adeyemi Ajayi.