The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) has been accused of forcing a suspect in a fraud case to make statement against his wishes.
The former Katsina State ALGON Chairman, Ibrahim Dankaba, who is the fourth defendant in the ongoing trial of former governor Ibrahim Shema of the state and three others accused of alleged misappropriating about N11 billion state’s funds, insisted that the EFCC forced him to make statements..
Other defendants in the case include former Commissioner for Local Government Affairs in the state,
Sani Makana and the then Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Lawal Rufai.
Dankaba told the court that he was invited by the EFCC on Jan. 25, 2016 and Oct. 31, 2016 for an interview. He said he went with his counsel, Aliyu Ahmed Yola, but that the counsel was asked to stay outside.
The defence in the case also sought to present Mr Yola as second witness, but the prosecution objected, arguing that a counsel could not be a witness at the same time unless he withdrew as counsel.
The prosecution counsel, Mr O I Uket, SAN, said that counsel was incompetent to serve as witness in the case.
‘’A counsel cannot turn into a witness in the case unless he withdraws as counsel,” he said.
However, one of the defence counsel, Mr Uyi Ugunma, said that when Mr Yola knew that he would testify, he stopped appearing as counsel in the case.
He cited section 175 of the Evidence Act (1), which explains that nothing disqualifies the client from being a witness, because he has already withdrawn as counsel.
The judge overruled the prosecution and allowed Mr Yola to testify. In his testimony, Yola said that he accompanied his client to the EFCC on Jan. 25, 2016 and Oct. 31, 2016, but was asked to leave.
He said that he drew their attention on the fundamental human right of his client, but was refused that request.
Yola further told the court that his client was detained in EFCC facility for 23 days, and that he was prevented from rendering services to the client.
The judge, Justice Ibrahim Maikaita, adjourned the case to Feb. 18, 2019 for continuation.