An Abuja High Court sitting at Maitama, on Wednesday, adjourned the trial of the former Accountant-General of the Federation, AGF, Ahmed Idris, who was accused of siphoning public funds to the tune of about N109.4 billion, till March 11.
The matter was stalled after it was discovered that an alleged incriminating statement the erstwhile AGF made before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, was missing.
Justice Halilu Yusuf had earlier ordered trial-within-trial in the matter to enable the court to determine whether all the extra-judicial statements the defendant made before the anti-graft agency, should be admitted in evidence.
Whereas the anti-graft agency maintained that the defendant, who is facing trial alongside three others, made confessional statements that nailed him to the charge, however, the former AGF insisted that he made the said statements under duress.
He, therefore, urged the court to reject the 13 different statements the EFCC sought to tender in evidence against him.
Meanwhile, at the resumed proceedings in the matter on Wednesday, the EFCC told the court that the 1st defendant, Idris, voluntarily made all the statements between May 16, 2022 when he was arrested, to July 5, 2022.
Though the Commission, through one of its investigators, Mr Hayatudeen Suleiman, identified 12 of the statements, it was however unable to locate the last statement dated July 5, in the case file.
Counsel to the ex-AGF, Mr. Chris Uche, SAN, also told the court that the said statement which was described as very pivotal to the case of the prosecution, was not part of the proof of evidence the EFCC served on his team.
Consequently, EFCC’s lawyer, Mr. Oluwaleke Atolagbe, applied for an adjournment to enable him to find and serve a copy of the statement on the defendants.
Other defendants in the matter, are an aide to the former AGF, Mr. Olusegun Akindele, a Director of the Federation Account, Mohammed Usman, as well as a company, Gezawa Commodity Market & Exchange Limited, which allegedly served as the conduit pipe through which bulk of the stolen funds were diverted.
They are answering to a 14-count charge that borders on conspiracy, money laundering and criminal misappropriation of public funds.
It will be recalled that initial attempt by the defendants to enter into a plea bargain deal with the EFCC, collapsed.
The court had earlier granted the former AGF bail in the sum of N5bn with two sureties which it stressed must be a Director and a Permanent Secretary.
The court equally granted the 2nd and 3rd defendants bail in the sum of N2bn each with two sureties that must be Directors.
As part of their bail conditions, the defendants, were barred from travelling out of Abuja, even as they were ordered to surrender their international passports and undertake not to procure alternate passports during the pendency of the case.
The defendants were equally ordered to depose to an affidavit of assurance to abide by all their bail conditions.