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N6.4b Refund: EFCC Faults Ventura’s CEO Claim On Non-Prosecution Agreement

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has faulted the claim by a former Accountant General of the Federation (AGoF), Jonah Otunla, that the Federal Government entered into a non-prosecution agreement with him.

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The commission quoted the ex-AGoF as saying this informed his decision to return about N6.4 billion to government’s coffers.

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An investigator with the EFCC, Hamman Adama Bello, stated this on Wednesday while testifying before a Federal High Court in Abuja as a defence witness in a suit filed by Otunla to enforce the alleged non-prosecution agreement.

The EFCC official said he did not find the evidence of such agreement between the Federal Government and Otunla during his investigation for alleged complicity in the diversion of funds from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) pension scheme.

Led in evidence by EFCC’s lawyer, Sylvanus Tahir, Bello said he was in the team that investigated the cases involving Otunla.

The witness adopted his statement on oath, which was filed before the court on January 11, 2021. Tahir tendered a copy of the charge he said was filed against Otunla and others before the court on October 12, 2019 at the conclusion of the investigation.

Bello urged the court to “dismiss this suit, because there was no agreement of non-prosecution, as nothing of such exists”.

Under cross-examination by the plaintiff’s lawyer, Ahmed Raji (SAN), the witness said although he led the team that investigated the N2 billion case involving Otunla, he was not in Air Vice Marshal Odey’s panel that investigated the arms purchase at the ONSA.

He said he only interacted personally with Otunla on the N2 billion case for which he led a team.

On the PHCN case, the witness said he got information from his colleagues, particularly Chris Odofin, and read the case file.

Bello said he was not always privy to all information available to the chairman of the EFCC.

At the conclusion of Bello’s testimony, the defence announced the closure of its case, following which Justice Inyang Ekwo adjourned till April 19, 2021 for the adoption of final written addresses.

The plaintiff’s sole witness, Bebia Victor Okangbe, had, while testifying on February 16, insisted that there was a non-prosecution agreement between Otunla (who he represented as a lawyer) and the Federal Government.

THE NATION

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