Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday frowned at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for allegedly publishing false information on Senator Shehu Sani, who is standing trial.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the EFCC had on January 27 arraigned the former lawmaker, who was arrested in December 2019 for allegedly “collecting $25,000” in the name of the EFCC acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu.
Sani is facing trial on two counts of bribery and advanced fee fraud by the EFCC.
The EFCC on February 25 published a news story on its official Twitter handle: @officialEFCC, with the headline: “EFCC presents witnesses Against Shehu Sani Over Alleged $10m Fraud.”
Sani’s Counsel, Abdul Ibrahim, brought the attention of the court to the publication.
Ibrahim said: “The story they put out there for the public is that he was charged for $10 million, which is not true.”
The defence counsel tendered a print out copy of the publication before the court as evidence.
The EFCC Counsel, Abba Mohammed, said he was not aware of the publication and the news came to him as a shock.
Mohammed said: “I view this as an attempt to instigate the court against the prosecution.
“It is just a print out of a purported EFCC handle and anybody can do it.”
Justice Ekwo immediately cautioned the prosecutor, saying: “Anybody can do anything when they are allowed to do so.”
The Judge further warned parties to observe and comment on happenings in court only as there should be no commentary on the substance of the court.
The Judge said: “Parties should trust that the will of law in this matter will be achieved.
“I don’t want to be put in a position of being distracted from doing my duty.
“The records of court are public documents that can be applied for so this should not happen again.”
Earlier, the EFCC presented its third and fourth witnesses in the trial.