A detective with the Department of State Security (DSS), Jaiye Emmanuel, today, told a Federal High Court, Lagos, that none of the suspects arrested in connection with illegal importation of 611 pump action riffle guns, smuggled into the country, were leg -chained during interrogation by the department.
Jaiye stated this while being cross -examined by Mr. Yakubu Galadima, lawyer to Hassan Mamudu Nigeria Limited and Mamudu Hassan, the first and second accused in the alleged act.
It would be recalled that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had on June 14, 2017, arraigned both Mamudu Hassan and his company, alongside Salisu Abdulahi Danjuma, Oscar Orkafor, Donatus Ezebunwa Achinulo and Matthew Okoye, who is said to be at large, before Justice Ayotunde Faji on charges bordering on illegal importation of fire arms, conspiracy, forgery and altering of documents, offering of graft to government officials and importation of prohibited goods.
The offences according to the Prosecutor, Mr. Julius Ajakaiye, are contrary to to and punishable under sections 3(6),1(14)(a)(I) 1(2) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap. M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. And section 98(1) (b) of the Criminal Code Act.
At the resumed hearing of the case today, Jaiye who told the court that he is a Staff Officer Technical with the DSS, while narrating the role he played during the interrogation of the accused persons during cross-examination by Mr. Galadima told the court that he interrogated the accused (Mamudu Hassan) when he was transferred to their office sometimes in March 2017, and that the accused made a statement, but he could not remember the exact date.
The detective when asked if the accused was leg-chained during interrogation, replied, “he was not leg- chained’, though, he said in the video recorded by him which he played in the open court, the legs of the accused did not show, because the table at the conference room where the interrogation took place was covered.
He also to ld the court that none of interrogators at the conference room where the accused was interrogated carried arms during the interaction with the accused person.
When probed further if he knows how the accused were brought to the conference room, the DSS operative answered and said he did not know how they were brought to the conference room, because his department has other people for that.
When further questioned if the accused was represented during interrogation, by the lawyers to other accused persons which including: Rotimi Jacobs and Dr. Paul Ananaba, who are Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), and H. A. Ibrahim, the DSS operative told the court that he was not represented by anybody, except when his brother came in to read out part of Bill of Ladding which was used to bring in the guns, because the accused said he was having difficulty in reading it.
He also told the court how the interrogation was recorded by him and one Bolaji Adeyemi, whom he said did not play any major role.
He also informed the court that each of the accused persons were interrogated separately and that he did not write any statement concerning the during and after the interrogation of the accused persons.
The matter has been adjourned till tomorrow, for continuation of trial of accused persons.
AGF in charge number FHC/L/190c/17, alleged that the all the accused persons conspired with one another to illegally import into Nigeria 661 Pump Action Rifles.
They were also alleged to have forged the documents which
includes: two Bill of Ladings, one reads ‘Shanghai, China’, as Port of Loading, instead of ‘Istanbul’, and another one which reads: ‘Steel Doors’, as the contents of the container instead oIm Customs’ Form M, Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) used in smuggling the said 661 rifles Into the country.
In particular, Mahmud Hassan, a retired Assistant Comptroller of Customs, was alleged to corruptly offered the sum of N400, 000.00, to one Aliu Musa, the Examination Officer of the Federal Operation Unit of the Customs Service with an intent to prevent hundred percent search on a container marked PONU 825914/3, which was used in bringing into the country the said arms.
He was also alleged to have corruptly gave the sum of N1 million to Government officials at Apapa Port, through his colleague, Danjuma Abdulahi, in order to prevent the searching of the said container used in bringing in the 661 illegally imported Pump Action rifles.