Akinjide’s fraud: I am well trained to conduct investigations – EFCC witness
May 16, 2018
A prosecution witness, Usman Zakari, on Wednesday told a Federal High Court in Lagos that he was
competent to investigate a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide, charged with N650 million fraud.
Akinjide is standing trial alongside a People’s 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
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.
Zakari, an operative of EFCC and first prosecution witness in the trial-within-trial, was cross-examined on Wednesday.
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.
Conducting his cross-examination, Ayorinde, counsel to Akinjide, asked the witness: “Did you say you supervised the writing of the
statement of the first defendant?
Witness: Yes I did.
Ayorinde: So, you just gave the defendant the writing materials and watched her as she wrote?
Zakari told the court that when the defendant visited the commission on Aug. 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.
Ayorinde asked: So, after the 20 minutes interrogation, did she have a right to walk out of the commission?
Witness: That is not correct, she had no right to walk out.
Ayorinde: Was the first accused put under arrest after the 20 minutes of interview?
Witness: That is not correct.
Ayorinde asked if Akinjide would have been arrested if she had attempted to walk away?
Witness: She never made any attempt to walk out, so I would not know what I would have done.
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?
Witness: The commission had no police manual and the manner of interrogation was determined by the team leader.
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
“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.
Ayorinde: Apart from yourself, how many people were present when the first defendant was writing her statement?
Witness: I was present together with Tosin Owobo, Oluwatoyin Ige, the husband of the first defendant as well as her
lawyer, Mr Williams.
Justice Hassan adjourned until May 22 for continuation of trial.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that at the last adjournment on May 9, the court had refused an application for
overseas medical trip of the third accused (Otti).
The judge refused the application on the grounds that the available records did not show that she had ever been to the U.S. for
The accused were alleged to have received monies from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke,
in the build-up to the 2015 General Elections.
The money was part of the 115 million dollars allegedly disbursed by Alison-Madueke to influence the outcome of the 2015