Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of an FCT High Court Maitama, yesterday admitted the confessional statements by Veronica Onyegbula, who is standing trial along with a former director at the Police Pension Office, Esai Dangabar, for alleged N14 billion pension fraud.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charged Onyegbula, Dangabar, Atiku Kigo, Ahmed Wada, Sani Zira, Uzoma Attang, and Christian Madubike with amended 20 counts bordering on criminal breach of trust.
Justice Baba-Yusuf in his ruling on the trial-within-trial to find out if the accused person made her confessional statement voluntarily or otherwise, held that Onyegbula could not sustain her allegation of threat or duress.
“I have considered the evidence on both sides and their written addresses, the fourth defendant have not been able to sustain her allegation of inducements, torture or threat.
“Rather during cross examination, she said the alleged statements were dictated to her and if that be the case, it is not a matter of involuntariness.
“Accordingly, the said statements are hereby admitted in evidence and marked accordingly,” he held.
Baba-Yusuf then adjourned the case until May 21 and May 27 for continuation of hearing.
Onyegbula’s counsel, Mr Ernest Ikeji had earlier informed the court that EFCC forced Onyegbula to make some confessional statements which EFCC wanted to tender.
He therefore prayed for a trial-within-trial. The judge then ordered for trial within trial to ascertain whether the statements were made voluntarily by Onyegbula.
The prosecution had called three witnesses while Onyegbula testified by herself before both parties closed their case.