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Alleged N450m fraud: Court admits ex-Minister, Bulama, others’ confessional statements as exhibit

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Justice Fadima Murtala Aminu of the Federal High Court sitting in Damaturu, Yobe State, has admitted in evidence the confessional statements made by a former Minister of Science and Technology, Abdu Bulama.

Bulama was the coordinator of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2015 re-election campaign committee in Yobe State, is being prosecuted alongside a former Commissioner for Integrated Rural Development in Yobe State, Mohammed Kadai, Abba Gana Tata, Muhammad Mamu and Hassan Ibn Jaks for allegedly receiving the sum of N450m from Diezani Alison- Madueke, former Minister of Petroleum Resources, to influence the outcome of the 2015 Presidential Election.

The defendants were re- arraigned on November 8, 2021, on a seven- count charge of criminal conspiracy and money laundering, following the judgment of an Appeal Court in Gombe State, which set aside the judgment of the lower court which had discharged and acquitted the defendants. The appellate court had ordered re-trial of the case before another Judge.

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It will be recalled that, on Monday, February 28, 2022, a prosecution witness, Dauda Umar, an operative of the EFCC who was led in evidence by prosecution counsel, Mukhtar Ali Ahmed, had informed the court that the defendant’s extra judicial statements were obtained voluntarily.

Umar, who testified in a trial-within-trial, after the defendants had claimed that they made statements under duress, said the EFCC operated to international best practices and has no history of extracting statements from suspects by force.

At the resumed trial today, Justice Aminu admitted in evidence the extrajudicial statements of the defendants as exhibits A1-A6, 2A-2D, 3A-3B, 4A-4B and 5A-5C respectively.

Meanwhile, E. A Adeniton, who held the brief of lead defence counsel, J.J Usman SAN, prayed for the court for an adjournment to enable his principal to cross examine Umar.

Justice Aminu adjourned the case till November 1. 2022 for cross-examination of PW3.

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