SAN FRANCISCO, April 04, (THEWILL) – A six-year old daughter of a former acting Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Haruna Jauro, was said to have been invited for interrogation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
This was disclosed on Tuesday at the Federal High Court, Lagos, by a subpoenaed witness, Peter Achuneni, who is a lawyer, as he gave evidence at the resumed trial-within-trial of Jauro.
THEWILL recalls that Justice Mojisola Olatoregun had ordered a trial-within-trial when Jauro claimed that his statements made to the EFCC were not made voluntarily after the anti-graft commission charged him, alongside Dauda Bawa and Thlumbau Enterprises Limited on a 19-count charge of N304.1 million fraud.
Achuneni, led in evidence by Jauro’s lawyer, Olalekan Ojo, said he represented Jauro during investigation at the EFCC was not allowed to go near the interrogation table where Jauro was being questioned and asked to fill an asset declaration form by an operative of the EFCC, Orji Chukwuma.
He revealed that he attempted severally to approach Jauro at the interrogation table, when he saw the discomfort on his face, but he was asked to return back to the gallery where other visitors were seated by the EFCC operative, Chukwuma, who warned him to stay away or risk being joined alongside the accused person.
Achuneni said Orji later asked him to endorse the Jauro’s statement which added that he (Achuneni) was present when it was taken and that all went well.
The lawyer said he, however, refused to do Chukwuma’s bidding but wrote that he was denied access to his client, which he said further angered Chukwuma, who threatened to charge him with justice obstruction.
He alleged that Chukwuma then threatened that he would make things difficult for Jauro following which Jauro’s children, including a six-year-old, were invited on the next day to the EFCC’s office.
He added that he reported at the EFCC’s office for about six days, and equally went along with the children when they were invited saying that the interrogation lasted for between 10 to 11 hours daily.
However, during cross-examination, the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, asked if Achuneni knew the content of the provisions of Section 17 (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 which states that a lawyer was forbidden from interfering with a suspect whose statement was being taken.
The case was however adjourned for further proceedings till April 5, 2017.