Prosecution witness, Mahmud Tukur, on Wednesday, revealed before Justice Fatima Aminu of the Federal High Court, Gusau, Zamfara State, how Ambassador Bashir Yuguda and three others, including the former governor of Zamfara State Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi, Aminu Ahmed Nahuche and Ibrahim Mallaha allegedly received N450m from the former Minister of Petroleum resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke and distributed it to leaders of then ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state.
Led in evidence by prosecution counsel, Musa Isah, Tukur, who is an investigator with the EFCC, told the court that on the eve of the 2015 general elections, a sum of $115,000 was distributed among the 36 state chapters of the PDP, out of which he said, Zamfara State PDP, got N450m.
He stated that, the third and fourth defendants (Aminu Nahuche and Ibrahim Mallaha) were the recipients of the said money on behalf of the state’s chapter of the party.
Revealing how his team investigated and uncovered the fraud, Tukur said, “Our team, headed by Ifeanyi Sunday”, went to regional office of the new generation bank where the funds were warehoused, and was able to retrieve documents, such as payment receipts for all the states in the North-west.
The bank officials, he said were also invited to the Kano Zonal Office of the EFCC and their statements were recorded under word of caution. “Thereafter, Aminu Nahuche and Ibrahim Mallaha were invited. They reported and their statements were also recorded under word of caution by one of our operatives. In the course of investigation, the first and second defendants (Shinkafi and Ambassador Yuguda) were also invited and their statements were recorded under word of caution.”
The witness identified the statements of the defendants which were admitted in evidence against the wishes of the counsel of the second and fourth defendants on the grounds that, the witness was not the one who directly obtained the statements and that statements were obtained under duress and thus, prayed for a trial-within-trial to be conducted.
While prosecution counsel applied to withdraw the statements based on the ground that the witness did not record the statements directly, the defense counsel insisted on trial-within-trial.
Citing Supreme and Appeal courts’ authorities, prosecution counsel said the law allowed the prosecution to withdraw the statements, prompting counsel for the second defendant, R.M.D Labaran to ask for adjournment to enable him study the authorities cited by the prosecution.
The matter was adjourned until February 11 and 12, 2020 for continuation of trial.