The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has insisted that the chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Yakubu Umar, was implicated in the N10 million bribery allegation preffered against him by a retired Comptroller of Customs, Chief Rasheed Taiwo Owolabi, who is standing trial before the tribunal.
The EFCC told an Abuja High Court that the Personal Assistant to the CCT chairman, Malam Alli Gambo Abdullahi, named the CCT chairman as the beneficiary of the N1.8 million part- payment made by Owolabi, through a bank transaction in respect of the bribery saga.
During a trial within -trial by Justice Christiana Orji, the anti-graft agency said the denial made by Abdullahi much later after his first statement on September 9, 2013, in which he freely implicated the CCT boss ,was an after thought.
Testifying before Justice Orji, an operative with EFCC, Abdulmajeed Ibrahim ,who led the investigation into the bribery allegation, told the judge that Abdullahi freely made statement on September 2013, to the effect that the CCT boss allegedly demanded N10 million bribe from the ex-customs boss, adding that he asked him to act on his behalf.
Ibrahim told the court that the denial made by the said Abdullahi in another statement could not invalidate the first statement of 2013 because it was voluntarily made by Abdullahi ,who is standing trial in a criminal matter.
The witness, who was led in evidence by EFCC counsel, Mr Andrew Akoja, urged the court to disregard and reject Abdullahi’s denial that he did not give the bribe money to Umar.
Another witness, Bala Mohammed, an EFCC detective, told the court how he was invited in 2013 to participate in the investigation of a petition of one Rasheed Taiwo Owolabi, concerning the N10million bribe allegedly demanded by the CCT boss.
The witness said the Personal Assistant to the CCT boss, who is currently standing trial on criminal offences, was invited on August 12, 2013 and he volunteered a statement to EFCC.
Mohammed claimed that Abdullahi was investigated in an open hall freely and that there was no duress, intimidation, harassment or coercion in the cause of the investigation.
The witness insisted that Abdullahi’s statement was made on his own volition and that he freely signed before the head of the investigating team counter-signed.
Bala also said that the issue of duress raised by Abdullahi was an afterthought and uncalled for because he was granted bail on self recognition.
Another EFCC witness, a Superintendent of Police, Mr Reuben Omosieho, corroborated the evidence of other witnesses to the effect that the statement of Abdulahi in the N10m illion bribery allegation was freely, voluntarily and fairly made.
Justice Christiana Oji adjourned the case till June 14, 2016 for further hearing.