EFCC official in court denies slapping suspect during interrogation
An EFCC official Sini Omar John, who is a Superintendent of Police, attached to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on Wednesday, October 31, 2018, told Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of a Federal High Court, sitting in Maitama, Abuja, that the Commission’s investigators do not slap suspects neither do they compel them to make statements under duress.
John testified as a prosecution witness in a trial within trial, involving one Mohammed Sanni Zubair, a member of a syndicate, who specialized in defrauding people.
Zubair is being prosecuted by the EFCC on 4-count charge of fraud.
The defendant and his syndicate, allegedly defrauded one Major General Geoffrey Ejiga of over N180million.
Recall that on October 26, 2018, when the trial started, the prosecution counsel, Fatsuma Mohammed, sought to tender the defendant’s confessional statement in evidence, through the first prosecution witness, Nasiru Amina Shehu, an EFCC detective.
The admissibility of the document was objected to by the defence counsel, Joe Agi, SAN, on the ground that the defendant was slapped and made to make the statement under duress. The matter was thereafter adjourned to October 31, 2018, for trial within trial, to determine if the statement was made under duress.
When the matter came up, while being led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, John told the court that EFCC investigators adhere strictly to professional best practice
while conducting investigations, stressing that it was not true that the defendant was compelled to make the said statement.
“It is not true that his statement was not obtained voluntarily. This is because, my subordinates that conducted the investigation, adhered strictly to professional best practice”, he said.
“as a team leader, i ensured they administered words of caution and that the defendant understood same throughout the process of recording the said statement. Procedurally, when a statement seems to be confessional, we ensure such statement is endorsed by an independent officer”.
The witness further told the court that the independent officer who endorsed the statement, SP Yahaya Abdulkadir, asked the defendant if he made his statement voluntarily and he responded in the affirmative.
“My lord, it is not true that I slapped the defendant. This is because, it is unethical and as a senior investigator, i ought to lead by example. Whilst he was with the independent officer, he was asked if his statement was made voluntarily, he said yes”, the witness said.
The matter was thereafter adjourned to November 12, 2018, for continuation of trial within trial.