A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday continued with the hearing of the alleged $25,000 case against former Senator and social critic, Shehu Sani.
The thrust of Monday’s hearing before Justice Inyang Ekwo was on the audio conversation between Senator Shehu Sani and Alhaji Sani Dauda, the proprietor of ASD Motors, who is the complainant.
According to Daily Post, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s lawyer, Ekele Iheanacho, after addressing the court, introduced the prosecution witness and a staff member of the anti-graft agency, Bako Aliyu.
On the directive of the presiding Judge, the EFCC’s prosecution witness played the audio conversation between the defendant (Shehu Sani) and the complainant (Alhaji Sani Dauda), which lasted for about 20 minutes.
The EFCC lawyer and the prosecution witness claimed that the conversation had been translated into English and when asked to play it, they couldn’t play it due to technical hitches.
But the counsel for the defendant, A. A. Ibrahim (SAN), cross-examined the EFCC’s prosecution witness, stating that the $25,000 was handed over to the EFCC by the complainant (Alhaji Sani Dauda) and not his client, Shehu Sani.
He said the conversation between Shehu Sani and Alhaji Dauda Sani in the audio, though not cleared, had no mention of $25,000 bribery allegation to indict his client anywhere.
While making reference to a proforma invoice previously tendered as part of evidence, the defence lawyer asked if it wasn’t in relation to a transaction involving car purchases, since the complainant was a car dealer.
The defence lawyer further asked the EFCC to prove the nexus between $25,000 and Shehu Sani’s request to use the money to bribe the Chief Justice of the Federation and former Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu.
In the series of questions by the defence counsel to EFCC’s prosecution witness, he said; “When the complainant handed over the exhibits to EFCC, you were not there. Can you quickly tell the court, what is the EFCC’s protocol for starting investigation? I am asking you, just be straightforward. What is the EFCC’s protocol for starting investigation?”
Responding, the EFCC’s prosecution witness submitted that investigation began when an oral complaint was laid or a statement was written.
He explained that all petitions were addressed and submitted to EFCC Chairman’s office for his approval before they are assigned to investigative officers.
“When the petition is approved, it can be assigned to any of the investigative officer,” Bako Aliyu said.
The defence counsel further told the court that the EFCC obtained a written statement from Senator Shehu at three different times, including when he was detained in their facility for 25 days, but the accused never admitted collecting $25,000 for bribery purposes.
He said the proprietor of ASD Motors, Sani Dauda, did not have any pending case at EFCC.
Having listened to the counsel, Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter to Tuesday, March 16, 2021.