A former Comptroller-General of Nigerian Immigration Service, David Shiafu Parradang, said he was never aware of the 2014 recruitment exercise that led to the death of several people.
He was testing Wednesday, at the resumed trial of Abba Moro and three others at a Federal High Court, Abuja.
However, the trial was stalemated over admissibility of dociment, the prosecution team tendered.
Moro and three others are facing 11-count charge bordering on their roles in the 2014 Nigerian Immigration Service job exercise, which turned tragic.
The co-defendants are Mrs. Anastasia Daniel-Nwobia who was the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Interior when the alleged fraud was committed, and a Deputy Director in the Ministry, Mr. F. O Alayebami.
At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) prosecuting lawyer, Aliyu Yusuf, said he was ready to present the first witness, to which the defendants’ lawyers led by Chris Uche didn’t object.
The witness, former Comptroller-General of Immigration Service, Parradang, said he was the CG from June 2013 to August 2015.
Led in evidence by Yusuf, he said he was not aware of the recruitment exercise until his attention was drawn to a publication of September 9, 2013, in a national daily, advertising for various positions in the service. He said he was surprised.
“I was surprised because as the Comptroller General I was supposed to know about the exercise.
“I immediately put a call to the Secretary of the board, Dr. Attahiru, whether there was going to be recruitment exercise into the service. He said ‘yes’. And I told him that I was supposed to be informed as Comptroller General and head of the service. I told him that at least, the service was supposed to have delegated authority to recruit from level 1 to 7, and asked if that had been withdrawn from me. He said I should not worry. I said why shouldn’t I worry”, Parradang said.
He stated further that he called two other members of the board to ask them if they were aware of the recruitment, they said no.
At this, the defence counsel, Uche objected, saying the response of the people he said he called was a “hearsay”, adding there ought to be an evidence that he actually called them.
Uche, who with 17 other lawyers for the first defendanr, Moro, said ‘the truth can be established when the two people can testify to what he is saying or minutes of the meeting is tendered when it was discussed.”
At this point prosecution lawyer tendered a letter, the witness purportedly wrote to the board members.
A defence counsel objected to the admissibility of the letter being that the document was not paid for. There is certification stamp, but no fee was paid, he said.
He said it was against provisions of the evidence act.
He cited section 104 evidence act, to back up his argument
Another bone of contention was that the letter was from the Minister of Interior rather from the board, that should be in custody of the document.
All the defendants’ lawyers aligned themselves with the objection.
Yusuf countered that the document is admissibl if it is relevant to the case.
“The witness testify that it his letter, he identified it.
“What determines admissibility is relevance, whether if it is relevant to the issue being tried.
“When fees is prescribed, it could be paid but on the document it is boldly written that no fee is prescribed.
“On issue of custody, the board is part and parcel of Ministry of Interior, he declared.
At this juncture, the trial Judge Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, asked the prosecution and defence teams to streamline their documents to avoid delay in the case.
He thereafter adjourned till June 10, for ruling on the admissibility of the document tendered and contination of evidence of the first prosecution witness.