Drama erupted on Tuesday at the Federal High Court, Abuja when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
EFCC suspected that its main witness, Rabiu Musa, in the suit filed against Ali Bello and his co-defendant, Daudu Suleiman, had been scared away from trial.
The witness, an Abuja-based Bureau De Change, BDC, operator, was suspected to have been threatened, following his appearance at the last trial. The development was said to have scared him away from today’s trial.
The EFCC’s lawyer, Hannatu Kofarnaisa, made the allegations at the resumed trial before Justice James Omotosho.
Kofarnaisa told Justice Omotoso that Musa would not be in court to continue his evidence-in-chief in the matter.
She alleged that it was based on the witness’ experience of threats at the last adjourned date, adding that she had called the witness five times but that he was no longer picking her calls.
Abdullahi Aliu, SAN, who appeared for Ali Bello, told the court that he would not react to the EFCC’s allegations because they were not targeted at his client and did not oppose the request for an adjournment.
Drama, however, unfolded when the witness alleged to have been threatened from giving his evidence, suddenly walked into the courtroom without any signs of apprehension.
Ali Bello’s counsel got up and drew the attention of the judge to the quiet arrival of the witness into the courtroom.
Justice Omotoso however doused the tension by preventing the defense lawyers from joining issues with the anti-graft agencies on the allegations.
Meanwhile, in his testimony, the witness identified one of his record books of transactions seized from him by EFCC during a raid of his office at Wuse in Abuja and also admitted knowing Ali Bello.
During cross-examination by Daudu Suleiman’s lawyer, Nureni Jimoh, SAN, the BDC operator, who claimed to be an illiterate, said most of the transactions were recorded for him by one of his workers named Mubarak who he said was literate and now a student at a university.
He also admitted that parts of the transactions were recorded in his absence but that he was always briefed upon his arrival at the office.
Justice Omotoso thereafter adjourned the matter until Feb. 22 and Feb 23 for trial continuation.
Credible news reports that the EFCC had, on Dec. 15, 2022, arraigned Bello and Suleiman on a 10-count charge of alleged misappropriation and money laundering.