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ICPC vs PDP bigwig : Bribe money tendered as evidence

Posted by Francis Falola, Niger on 2005/04/27 | Views: 424 |

ICPC vs PDP bigwig : Bribe money tendered as evidence


The ongoing trial of the National Vice Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party for North Central Zone, Alhaji Abubakar Magaji, for an alleged attempt to bribe a high court judge to pervert the course of justice took a dramatic turn on Tuesday as the alleged bribe money was tendered in court as exhibit.

The ongoing trial of the National Vice Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party for North Central Zone, Alhaji Abubakar Magaji, for an alleged attempt to bribe a high court judge to pervert the course of justice took a dramatic turn on Tuesday as the alleged bribe money was tendered in court as exhibit.

In the suit instituted by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, an investigator, Mr. Fugah Williams, while giving evidence on Tuesday, narrated how the box containing the exhibit money kept in the custody of United Bank for Africa was broken into to retrieve the money in the course of his investigation.

Magaji, it will be recalled, was on September 3, 2000 at Suleja, Niger State, alleged to have corruptly offered to give N1million to a high court Judge, Justice Ahmed Bima, to pervert the course of justice in the Borgu emirship tussle.

The N1million he claimed to have brought to bribe the judge was abandoned and was later counted to be N500, 000 by the judge in the presence of some witnesses.

Williams, while giving his evidence in High Court 5, Minna, attributed the inability of the bank to produce the key to the box, where the money was deposited for safe-keeping, to the death of the bank official in whose care the money was kept.

He explained further that the box had to be broken following the request by the court’s chief registrar to allow the anti graft panel’s investigators and the witnesses in the case have access to the money.

The ICPC investigator said, “I went to the bank with my co-investigator, together with some of the witnesses which include Justice Bima, Baba Nwachiko and Alhaji Kashim and the then UBA Minna, Branch Manager, one Mr. Benu, in company with one of the bank officials brought out the box, which was forcibly opened.

“What we discovered inside the box was a yellow polythene bag inside which was five bundles of mint note of N100, 000 each of N100 denomination.”

The money, kept in a big yellow polythene bag, was shown to the ICPC investigator, who certified the currency as the one found inside the box.

According to him, “after accessing the money, the ICPC entered its findings in its letter headed paper and the witnesses signed together with the bank officials and another letter was raised by the court’s chief registrar returning the money back to UBA Minna, branch Manager for safe keeping”

He attributed the circumstances surrounding the keeping of the money with the UBA as based on the refusal of the state’s Grand Khadi to keep custody of the money Justice Bima took to him.

The Grand Khadi was said to have transferred the money to the State Chief Judge, Justice Jibrin Ndajiwo, who ordered that the money should be taken to the bank for keep as exhibit.

The leading counsel to the accused, Mr. Oladele Ayodele, , during his cross-examination, questioned the rationale behind the investigation of a case that happened in 2000 in 2002.

He accused the investigator of not doing a thorough investigation and wondered why the statement of the state chief judge was not taken as a witness by the ICPC.

The other witnesses that had earlier testified in the case include: the Principal Witness; Justice Ahmed Bima, an upper Area Court Judge, Alhaji Abdullahi Kazim and Mallam Umaru Baba Wachiko, who were visitors to Bima’s residence and witnessed Magaji when he came with the bribe.

Other witnesses are the Grand Khadi; Alhaji Abdulmumini Enagi, whom the matter was reported to, Chief registrar of the State high court, the bank manager of the UBA, where the bribery money was eventually deposited, and an official of ICPC, Mr. Olu Kehinde who was one of those who investigated the case.

The ICPC counsel was led by Mrs. Chris Onuagwu, others are: Mr. Abbia Udofia and Mr. Ibrahim Garba, while the leading counsel for the defendant, was Mr. Oladele Ayodele

The Presiding Judge in the case, Justice Maria Dzukogi adjourned the case to May 12 for continuation of hearing.

The PUNCH, Wednesday, April, 27, 2005

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.