Maj-Gen. Hakeem Otiki, the military officer standing trial for allegedly stealing and diverting Nigerian Army’s cash has pleaded not guilty after being arraigned before a court martial.
It was however learnt that N135 million, said to be part of the missing money was recovered from the Nigerian army general who is pleading with the tribunal to allow him travel for medical treatment at Florida in United States (U.S.) and also to unfreeze his account which was placed under Post No Debit (PND) by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Otiki ran into trouble after his escorts he instructed to guard one Alhaji Abo Aliu who was transporting N100,000,000.00 and $86,000.00 from Sokoto to Kaduna, robbed him of the money between Funtua and Zaria.
Alhaji Abo Aliu and his friend were taken to a nearby forest, dispossessed of their phones and robbed of the money meant for furniture purchase.
“In the course of the investigation, the team sent a letter to the General financial intelligence unit, requesting to connect the accused senior officer’s phone number with his bank details. We also wrote a letter to the Army intelligence, their tech unit, requesting a forensic analysis of the phone of the accused. The team also wrote a letter to the CAC.
“The team travelled from Abuja to Sokoto but before the travel, the team recorded the statement of the accused. After the initial statement, on the 19/07/19, he requested to make another statement and the request was granted. He has two statements made on the 19/07/19.
“On the 24/07/19, the team invited the officer for interrogation, on 06/08/19, the team recorded another statement of the accused. On 08/08/19, there was another session with the senior officer (another question and answer session).
“On 14/08/19, there was another question and answer session with the accused senior officer.
“The team proceeded to Sokoto on the 25/07/19, where the team interviewed principal staff officers and other witnesses at Sokoto i.e S.D Headquarters. While in Sokoto, the team obtained documents important to this case, the team equally collected a committee report on barracks administration as well as executive summary from the committee.
“The team also inspected some of the projects that were ongoing at the division. Documents like the Harmonized Terms and Condition of Service of officers and the manual of collection of Armed forces 2018 were collected too. We also obtained authority from the collection of arms and ammunition from the commissioner of arms.
“Furtherance to the investigation, the team got hold of some monies that were carted away by the ‘accused’. The team recovered ?15,382,000.00 and $6,600. Furthermore, another sum of ?20,000,000.00 was also recovered in the course of this investigation.
“Another sum of ?100,000,000.00 was equally recovered in the course of the investigation” one of the investigators said.
General Otiki who is currently trying to secure a nod to travel out for a spinal cord surgery on or before October 15, has Okechukwu Ajunwa, Femi Oyebanjo; Mike Kebunko and Kenneth Anyang on his defence team.
Speaking on behalf of their client, the defence team said “He has been detained and underwent an excruciating condition at the detention; as a result, he suffered severe pains in his lower back. After medical examinations, it was reported that he needs a spine transplant.
“The right to life is sacrosanct as granted in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, it is the only right that cannot be restored once it is lost. I refer this court to the case of Alhaji Toyin Jimoh vs. C.o.p (2006) 22 WRN, 77 at 85-86.
The prosecution objected to his request, arguing: “We have listened to the defence’s application, we are still saying that his application is hinged on nothing, there is nothing before this court, my learned counsel is not a medical doctor and such documents means nothing before this court.
“Fundamental human rights are subject to certain conditions. First, I refer this court to Section 122(6) and 122 (e) Armed Forces Act, Chapter A20, Laws of the Federation, 2004. Secondly, these conditions amongst other things are to ensure the safety of the person standing trial. EFCC can arrest him if released.”