Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of a Federal High Court, Abuja, has adjourned to February 5, 2019 trial of a former Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, even as the Court rejects a document sought by his defence team to be tendered in evidence, in the ongoing trial regarding proceeds from the ill-fated recruitment exercise into the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).
According to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Abba Moro is standing trial along with a former Permanent Secretary in the Interior Ministry, Anastasia Daniel-Nwobia; an ex-director in the Ministry, Felix Alayebami and a firm, Drexel Tech Nigeria Limited.
At today’s proceeding, the EFCC presented its tenth witness, Mustapha Zakaria, who worked as a Permanent Commissioner on the Board of the Civil Defence, Customs and Prison Board.
While being led in evidence by prosecuting counsel, Aliyu Yusuf, Zakaria, told the court that the 2014 recruitment exercise embarked upon, and in which it was later reported that many died, was fraught with irregularities.
He said: “That time, I was a Permanent Commissioner, and there was a proposal for recruitment. I however along with my colleague Dr. Francis, observed that it was not being done as we will normally do it.
“We had been doing recruitment for the past six years by then, and we did not used to ask applicants to pay, but we observed that for this recruitment, applicants were to pay N1,200 and the recruitment process was contracted out.
“We wrote our observations and recommendations to the Board, stressing that for level 8 and above it was the Board that was supposed to carry out the recruitment process.”
According to him, after the observations and recommendations were made against the recruitment process, he was literally kept in the dark, until he received instruction to “supervise” the exercise at the North-Eastern part of the country. He added that when he visited the Kaduna centre where the recruitment exercise was taking place, “it was so crowded that I could not enter and so I left, only to hear later in the day about casualties”.
“The preparation was a poor arrangement for me though I wasn’t part of it,” he added.
The document containing the observations and recommendations, were tendered in evidence by Yusuf, and admitted by the Court as Exhibit AAFD45.
Counsel for Abba Moro, K. Kehinde, SAN, thereafter, sought to tender the minutes of the 36th meeting of the Board, in which resolutions concerning the recruitment process were made, and in had Zakariya listed as present at the meeting.
The prosecution witness, however, on sighting the document, stressed that though his name was written on the list of attendees, “I need to check my own records because anybody’s name can be on the list”.
Yusuf also opposed the admissibility of the document, arguing that, “it was not a certified true copy, which is essential to admit in evidence, a public document”. Justice Dimgba, sustained the rejection of the document.