N14bn Pension Scam: Accused claims statement made under duress.
Veronica Onyegbula, a defendant in the N14billion police pension scam, on Wednesday closed her case at the FCT High Court, Maitama, in the trial- within –trial.
The process was to ascertain whether she gave her statement to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) voluntarily.
Ms Onyegbula is the fourth defendant in the case filed by the EFCC against her and six others.
Others are Esar Dangabar, Atiku Kigo, Ahmed Wada, Sani Zira, Uzoma Attang, and Christian Madubuke.
EFCC alleged they were responsible for the disappearance of N14 billion police pension fund.
Ms Onyegbula’s counsel, Ernest Ikeji, had informed the court that EFCC forced his client to make the statements which the anti-graft agency wanted to tender and prayed for trial-within-trial.
Ms Onyegbula, cross examined by Rotimi Jacobs, the prosecuting counsel, told the court that she made10 statements to the EFCC.
She added that five out of the statements were not made voluntarily.
Ms Onyegbula further told the court that she made the statements in the recording room of EFCC in the presence of Mustapha Gandaya and Aliyu Habibu.
“They were dictating what to write on the first day, they told me to write my personal information and I did, they said I should write everything about myself,” she said.
She told the court that all the five contentious statements were dictated to her and that the EFCC asked her to co-operate so that they will call her as a witness to testify against her directors.
She added that the EFCC officers dictated to her to write that she stole N14 billion with her directors, and that she refused to write it, but rather told them that she never saw such money.
Ms Onyegbula said she was promised by the EFCC that if she cooperates, her name would be dropped from the allegations.
She said that after she was released on bail, she made five additional statements.
The judge, Hussein Baba-Yusuf, after listening to her testimony, adjourned the matter until October 9 for adoption of written addresses.
Source : IWN Online Editor
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