Former AGF, Idris Seeks Plea Bargain Option in Alleged N109.4bn Fraud Trial

Alex Enumah

Former Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, is said to be seeking the Plea Bargain option in place of a full trial in the case of alleged N109.4 billion fraud.

This move was made known to the court yesterday by counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, SAN.

Idris and three others are standing trial on a 14-count money laundering charge brought against them by the EFCC.

The others include; Mr. Olusegun Akindele, a Director of the Federation Account, Mohammed Usman, and a company, Gezawa Commodity Market & Exchange Limited.

A Plea Bargain option is one that allows a defendant enters a guilty plea to a lesser offence in exchange for a more lenient sentence or an agreement for some charges to be dropped.

This option enables both the prosecutor and the defendant to avoid a lengthy trial.

At the resumed trial, Jacobs informed the court that the former AGF and his co-defendants had through a third party, requested to meet him to negotiate the plea bargain arrangement.

Jacobs however stated that he refused to meet with them in the absence of their lawyers.

However, counsel that represented the ex-AGF in court on yesterday, Mr. Goddy Uche, SAN, insisted that his client and his co-defendants were at the EFCC office for the meeting but declined to go further with the negotiation after they were asked to go to the office of the EFCC Chairman.

Uche had before the EFCC lawyer revealed that the defendant sought a plea bargain, alleged that the defendants were summoned by the anti-graft agency, a development he said made it impossible for him to discuss the issue of purported confessional statements the prosecution intends to tender in evidence before the court, with his client.

Meanwhile, trial judge Justice Jadesola Adeyemi-Ajayi has adjourned further proceedings in the matter till October 4.

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