By Bola Owolola
Justice Hammadam Dashen of the Federal High Court, sitting in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, on Thursday, June 27, 2019 admitted in evidence, a response of withdrawal instrument letter from Fidelity Bank to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, dated 16, 2016 in respect to the trial of former Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Abdu Bulama and four others.
Bulama is being prosecuted by the EFCC on a seven-count charge, bordering on criminal conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of N450million. He is facing trial alongside Mohammed Kadai, a former state Commissioner for Integrated and Rural Development, Abba Gana Tata, Muhammad Mamu and Hassan Ibn Jaks.
It could be recalled that Muhammad Monguno, counsel to the first and second defendants raised objection to the admissibility of the withdrawal instrument response letter from Fidelity Bank to EFCC on the grounds that the document did not fulfill the requirement of Section 15(4) and 17(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015. Monguno also added that the statements of the defendants were obtained under duress by the prosecution.
Counsel to the third, fourth and fifth defendants agreed and adopted the submissions made by Mungono.
However in admitting the document, Justice Dashen noted that “the photocopy of the reply letter to EFCC from Fidelity Bank is relevant in this case. Sufficient foundation has being laid by PW5 (Salisu Muhammad Rabiu) as to the whereabouts of the original. The document sought to be tendered by the prosecution is here by admitted in evidence and to be marked as exhibit A.”
Salisu Muhd Rabiu, an operative of the EFCC had narrated how an intelligence report received from the Commission’s headquarters formed part of the investigation.
According to him, “A former minister of Petroleum Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke warehoused the sum of USD115, 010,000.00 [One Hundred and Fifteen Million, Ten Thousand United States Dollars], being equivalent sum of N23,299,705,000.00 (Twenty Three Billion, Two Hundred and Ninety Nine Million, Seven Hundred and Five Thousand Naira) through Fidelity Bank. During which, the first and second defendants signed and collected the cash sum of N450million from Fidelity Bank, Damaturu Branch.”
Led in evidence by prosecution counsel Mukhtar Ali Ahmad, Rabiu said he could identify the written statements of the defendants. “All the statement were recorded on the EFCC’s statement sheet endorsed by myself, Dauda Umar and Jonah Sunday,” he said.
Justice Dashen, adjourned the matter to July 5, 2019.