EFCC witness tells court alleged fraudster’s statements were not obtained under duress

Abuja, Nov. 14, 2017 (TNE) Mr Uchechi Ejeh, a prosecution witness, on Tuesday told an FCT High Court, Gudu, that the statements of Awwal Muhammed, a defendant in a land fraud, were not given under duress.

Ejeh, led in evidence by Shada Jamila, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) prosecuting counsel, was testifying in trial-within-trial, as the defendant denied making the statements.

Muhammad was docked by the EFCC on a five-count charge bordering on forgery, fraudulent possession of land documents and impersonation, punishable under Section 1(3) of Advanced Fee Fraud Act and Section 364 of the Penal Code.

Ejeh told the court that the defendant made three statements to the Commission in 2014, which were all administered with a word of caution.

He said all the statements were made freely by the defendant, without threat, intimidation, contrary to the defendant’s claim that he made the statements under duress.

“He wrote the detailed statements in his own handwriting, explaining how he came about the items recovered from his house.

“Throughout the period of recording of the statements of the defendant, he was made comfortable and the open office heard all our interactions,’’ the witness said.

Ejeh also said that the defendant was not compelled to write any statement he was not willing to write.

The EFCC prosecutor, Jamila, said the case was first filed in court on March 2015.

She said the defendant fraudulently tried to obtain the Certificate of Occupancy (C o fO) of a plot of land in Maitaima from the Abuja Capital Development Authority(FCDA), with a view to selling it.

She said he impersonated the rightful owner of the land, Nasiru Dantata, the Executive Officer of Dantata and Sawoe Ltd.

According to accumulated evidence, the defendant forged the land documents and fraudulently attempted to convert statutory Right of Occupancy in respect of the plot No. 2068, Maitama District allocated to Nasiru Dantata.

The prosecutor said the defendant impersonated as the direct allotee and presented fake Right of Occupancy allocation and acknowledgement letter in respect to the said plot to the FCDA.

Justice Abubakar Talbar adjourned hearing in continuation of trial-within-trial until Jan. 31, 2018.



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