Cultists moved from Kwara did not implicate Saraki — Govt

Kwara State governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed
Kwara State governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed

The Kwara State Ministry of Justice has said that suspected cultists arrested and interrogated by the police in Ilorin, the state capital, and recommended for trial by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) never indicted anybody in their statements.

The state’s chief prosecutor, Jimoh Mumini, said the claim was not true and fired a slew of verbal assaults at Sahara Reporters for running the story. Mr Jimoh also implied that the state police commissioner, Aminu Saleh, was behind the “defamatory” article.

Sahara Reporters reported on Friday that the suspects, who are being held for alleged culpability in nearly a dozen deaths, had told detectives during interrogations that Mr Saraki was their principal sponsor.

The suspects, who have been transferred to Abuja for further investigation, the paper said, named the Senate President and Mr Ahmed in the confessional statements made to the police.

According to the statements, the paper reported further, the suspects said they had been on the payroll of the Kwara State Government and Mandate Office of Mr Saraki.

But Mr Mumini said on Saturday that the report was untrue.

“We want to state categorically that there is no iota of truth in the said story. Our belief that the said story is false arose from the fact that the summary of the statement voluntarily made by the suspects and on the basis of which they were recommended for trial in Ilorin is contained in the press statement read by the Police Commissioner on May 10, 2018,” he said.

“We maintain that there was no portion of the press statement where the suspects were said to have indicted any top personality.

“For emphasis, let us restate the fact that on the basis of the statement obtained from the accused, the Police had issued a statement read publicly at the May 10 press conference in the state capital and there was no mention of their naming or implicating any top government official at the state or federal level.

“The State Ministry of Justice had in fact filed charges in the High Court against the accused persons and we stand by the pending charges and the trial process already lawfully initiated in Ilorin.”

The director also said that at no time was any influence exerted to pervert the course of justice, nor monetary transaction or any exchange of pecuniary benefit made between him and the Commissioner of Police with respect to this particular case or any other case for that matter.

“The Commissioner of police or the authors of the defamatory article aimed at tarnishing the image of the learned DPP are hereby challenged to make public any evidence of any discussion or transaction, whatsoever, between the Commissioner of Police and the learned DPP, MR. J.A MUMINI aimed at influencing or subverting the course of justice in this direction,” he said.

Mr Saraki on Wednesday claimed there were plans to “frame” and “implicate” him by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.

He also alleged that the police chief had transferred some criminal suspects undergoing interrogation in Kwara to make statements to implicate him.

In his reaction, Mr Ahmed also said there were attempts to “implicate” him and Mr Saraki by the police authorities.

Mr Idris has been having a running battle with the Senate under Mr Saraki, repeatedly refusing to honour summons by the Senate and accusing its members of criminal behavior.

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