Stella Oduah’s Trial: Drama As Court Orders EFCC To Probe Police Lawyer

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Stella Oduah’s Trial: Drama As Court Orders EFCC To Probe Police Lawyer

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to probe an Assistant Commissioner of Police, ASP, Ibrahim Mohammed Musa, who on behalf of the Federal Government, preferred an eight-count charge against a former Minister of Aviation, Senator Stella Oduah.

Oduah was in the fresh charge, accused of making a false claim through an affidavit, that she lost her National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, certificate.

According to the charge, it was based on the false representation in the said affidavit and an extract from Police Crime Diary, that she was nominated to serve as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Oduah, who served as Aviation Minister from 2011 to 2014, was alleged to have conspired with one D. A. Oshinowo, who is currently at large, to fabricate an incorrect document and forwarded same to FG with the intent that it may be acted upon as genuine, and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 156 of the Penal Code Act.

More so, she was accused of obtaining by false pretense, contrary to section 17(a) of EFCC Act.

Count eight of the charge dated June 22, read: “That you Senator Stella Oduah, sometime in the year 2011- 2023, at Federal Capital territory, Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, with intent to defraud did obtain the aggregate sum of salaries and allowances as Minister and Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from Federal Government of Nigeria under the pretence of been qualified with your credentials, the pretence you knew or ought to know to be false and thereby committed an offences contrary to Section 1/1)(a) of the Advance fee Fraud and other related Offence Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.”

Meanwhile, a mild drama ensued in court on Tuesday after the case was called up for the former Minister, who had also represented Anambra North in the Senate, to be arraigned.

Whereas ASP Musa, signed the charge as a member of the Legal & Prosecution Department of the EFCC, however, in a written address he attached in support of the case, identified himself as the Head, IGP Monitoring Unit, the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters, Abuja.

Musa, who announced himself as the Prosecution counsel in the matter, announced his appearance for the police.

He told the court that the defendant, Oduah, was not in court, adding that the Investigating Police Officer, IPO, in charge of the case, said he was unable to effect service of the charge on her.

At this juncture, trial Justice James Omotosho asked the prosecution to confirm if he was the one that signed the charge.

While admitting that he signed the charge, ASP Musa, told the court that he was previously seconded to the EFCC but later deployed back to the police in November 2022.

The prosecution counsel told the court that he resumed at the legal department of police headquarters in January 2023.

However, not satisfied with the explanation, Justice Omotosho queried to know how the charge was filed by the EFCC but was prosecuted by the police.

The judge further noted that ASP Musa signed the charge for the EFCC, about seven months after he purportedly returned back to the police

“How will any reasonable man believe you?” the judge queried.

“You will go to EFCC and explain. Let us investigate this matter. I call for an investigation,” Justice Omotosho added.

In his response, ASP Musa pleaded that he mistakenly wrote EFCC on the charge.

“It was a mistake Sir. I mistakenly put EFCC Benin on the charge,” the lawyer begged.

In a brief ruling, Justice Musa said he was not satisfied with the explanation.

“In view of the fact that Ibrahim Musa signed the charge and having admitted that he left EFCC in November 2022, this court hereby makes an order, directing the EFCC to investigate and report back to the court.

“Counsel shall report to EFCC immediately,” Justice Omotosho held.

Immediately the court proceedings ended, ASP Musa was led to the EFCC by armed security operatives attached to the court.