The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC ) has denied being part of any deal to exclude former Comptroller-General of Customs, Abdullahi Inde Dikko from criminal prosecution bothering on fraud and money laundering.
EFCC made the clarification in a notice of preliminary objection it filed in a suit by Dikko, in which the ex-Customs chief claimed to have entered an agreement with the EFCC to refund about N1.6billion to Federal Government’s coffers, following which he would excluded from prosecution.
Lawyer to Dikko, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), while arguing his client’s counter-affidavit to EFCC’s objection on Thursday, contended that it was a breach of an existing agreement and contract for EFCC to seek to prosecute the ex-Customs chief after he has kept to his side of the bargain and made huge refund to the government.
Magaji also faulted EFCC’s claim that the suit was wrongly commenced by way of origination summons.
He argued that, contrary to EFCC’s contention, facts in the case were not contentious. He added that the issue involved in the case was simple.
Mahmud said: “Our case is simply about the interpretation of Section 174 of the Constitution and Section14 (2) of EFCC Act, and no more.
“Our decision to bring this action by way of an originating summons is the appropriate position. There is no hostility in the whole case.
“Our client was to be prosecuted for financial crimes. When he was invited, he was confronted by information the EFCC said it has against him by virtue of its investigation activities.
“He (Dikko) was confronted with options of either to enter a refund agreement of be prosecuted. He agreed to a refund. And made refund in several tranches.
“At every payment, we ensured that we get evidence of payment from the bank,” Magaji said.
He identified the evidence of payment as reflected in some court documents marked as Exhibit 1 to 20D, and said “these are the evidence of the refund we made”
When asked by the judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, about where the said agreement was reached, Magaji said a meeting was held at the instance of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).
Magaji added that after the agreement was reached by parties, an official of the EFCC, who he identified as Hajeed (who was the IPO in the case), provided an account number into which his client (Dikko) made all the refund he made.