Abuja – Miss Zahra Abubakar, a second prosecution witness(PW2) in the trial within trial on alleged N600 million Naval property scam, on Thursday told an FCT High Court that the EFCC’s procedural standard for investigating suspects did not include threat or inducement.
She made this known while testifying against f ormer Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jubrin(retired), Rear Admiral Bala Msheila (retired ), Rear Admiral Shehu Ahmadu (retired ) and Harbour Bay International Limited before the court presided over by Justice Umar Sadiq.
The accused were standing trial on a four-count charge bordering on criminal conspiracy and purchase of a property valued at N600 million from the account of Naval Engineering Services Limited (NESL) without budgetary provision.
The trial within trial was ordered by Justice Sadiq following the objection raised on admissibility of the statement made to EFCC by the defendants, alledging that it was not made voluntarily.
The prosecution counsel, Mr Faruk Abdullahi, had sought to tender the statement through the fifth prosecution witness (PW5), Chidi Nweke, before the objection was raised.
At the resumed hearing on Thursday, the witness informed the court that the first defendant’s statement was obtained without any threat or promise, declaring:“We did not make any promise to the first defendant. We have a standard procedure.
“I have never heard or witnessed where any promise was made to anybody in the course of investigation.
“We never threatened him. It is not part of our operational procedure. We did not promise him of anything.”
According to her, Jubrin volunteered to be interviewed by the investigating team when he accompanied his wife, Lami Jubrin, who was invited by the EFCC for interrogation.
Led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, the witness stated that though operatives of the anti-graft agency had arms, they were not allowed to carry arms in the office.
While being cross examined by counsel for Jubrin, Mr Yakubu Maikyau(SAN) the witness stated that the whole team had an interview with Jubrin, saying that the interview and statement taking lasted for one or two hours.
The witness stated that she was present throughout the interview and statement taking , except for when she wanted to make photocopy or use the convenience.
Asked if she knew what transpired between Jubrin and Chidi Nweke, who testified as the first prosecution witness in the trial -within -trial, she answered that she was heard their conversations.
She informed the court that she was not present when the statements of the second and third defendants were taken, saying that.
“I wouldn’t know if any promise was made to the second and third defendants.”
Answering question under cross examination by the Mr Akin Dada, counsel for Harbour Bay International, the witness said that one Gen Baka was present when Jubrin’s statement was taken.
She added that when the former Navy boss was making the statement, members of the investigation team asked him to make clarification if there was any part that was not clear to them.
She said both Chidi and herself did not have inputs in the statement, adding, ” we only asked him to clarify where it was not clear to us. .
“It is part of our standard to ask for clarification where we are not clear. If there is anywhere we need clarification, we ask for it,” she said.
The counsel told the court that the prosecution was done with its case in the trial -within- trial, at the end of Abubakar’s testimony.
Maikyau, however, sought for an adjournment to enable him bring witnesses for the defence to open its case in the trial- within -trial.
The judge, Justice Sadiq Umar adjourned the case until April 17. (NAN )