By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
A fourth defendant witness, in the trial of former Katsina State Governor, Ibrahim Shehu Shema, has said that he was threatened, intimidated and harassed by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) in the process of obtaining his statement to implicate the former governor.
In his testimonial, Alhaji Ibrahim Dankaba, told Justice Maikaita Bako, that his statement to the EFCC, during interrogation was obtained under duress.
Other defendants alongside Shema and Dankaba are former Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftancy Affairs, Sani Makana and former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftancy Affairs, Lawal Safana.
Cross-examining the EFCC witness, Abubakar Buba, Counsel to Ibrahim, Mr. Napoleon Idenala, told the witness that his client was threatened, intimidated by Buba and his senior colleague, one Habu Fari Mohammed.
But Buba denied the allegation, saying he was not aware of such development.
While giving evidence in chief, Buba had told the court that the 4th defendant wrote his statement voluntarily.
He said he was part of the team that interview the defendant adding that he was interviewed based on new discoveries in the allegations against him.
“In the statement, the defendant erroneously wrote January 25th, 2015 instead of January 25th, 2016, which I corrected before he signed and I counter-signed. It is not true that the statement was obtained under duress”, Buba said.
But while under cross-examination, Buba consistently denied some questions Idenala put to him on the kind of treatment metted out to his client before the statement was obtained.
Idenala had among other questions asked, if Buba was aware that his client was detained in a police station in Katsina State for two days when a search was conducted in his house’, if he was aware of the health condition of his client who was taken to clinic while in detention’, if he was aware that some operatives of the EFCC and well-armed policemen stormed his house in Katsina during a search operation and if he was aware that his family and lawyers were denied access to him during his detention.
But Buba in his response said, “I’m not aware the 4th defendants was threatened and intimidated to implicate the 1st defendant (Shena). I can’t remember whether he fell ill in detention and was taken to clinic”.
Though he admitted in his evidence that he was part of the team that stormed his house in Katsina, he also said he does not know whether well-armed policemen were with them during the search on his house.
Similarly, Abu Fari Muhammad, who was called to testified before the court admitted holding series of meeting with defendant and some Katsina State government officials which includes the State Attorney General, El Marzuk , Special Adviser to Governor Aminu Bello Masari, Rabe Nasir and some others before the defendant was asked to write statement.
He said the meeting was meant to reconcile figures in the payment vouchers.
Abu Fari also contradicted the testimony of Buba by saying he, Buba and the defendant’s lawyers were present when the defendant was writing his statements.
During cross examinations, he also told the court that no incriminating items was found in the defendant house when his house was searched by the operatives of the Commission.
Further trial in the matter has been adjourned to January 23rd and 24th, 2019.