Police Pension Scam: Fourth Defendant Opens Defence

Mrs. Veronica Onyegbula, who is the fourth defendant in the police pension scam, amounting to N14bn, on Monday at an FCT High Court, Abuja, opened her defence in the trial-within-trial, to ascertain the voluntariness of her statement to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The anti-graft commission filed a case of fraud against her and six others.
Others are: Esar Dangabar, Atiku Kigo, Ahmed Wada, Sani Zira, Uzoma Attang, and Christian Madubuke.
ThebEFCC alleged that they were responsible for the disappearance of N14bn police pension fund.
Onyegbula’s counsel, Ernest Ikeji, had earlier informed the court that the EFCC forced his client to make those statements which EFCC wanted to tender and prayed for trial-within-trial.
Onyegbula, led in evidence by Ikeji, told the court that between February 13 to February 17, 2012, she wrote about 10 statements.
She said that when she was taken to the EFCC on February 13, she was taken to one Mustapha Gandaya.
“He took me to one Aliyu Habibu and he asked me if I knew the reason why I was there and I said no.
“He said that I conspired with my directors to steal N14bn between 2009 and 2011, and I said that I didn’t know anything about such amount and I have never touched such money,” she said.
She added that Habibu started shouting that if she didn’t tell him how they shared the money, he would personally send her to jail.
She further said that when she asked Gandaya to get her the statement form and take her to the recording room, she was forced to write what was dictated to her.
Onyegbula added that EFCC promised her that if she cooperated, her name would be dropped from the allegations.
She said that after she was released on bail, she made five additional statements.
The prosecuting counsel, Mr. Oluwaleke Atolegbe, holding brief for Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) prayed the court for an adjournment to enable his principal to cross-examine the witness.
The court had earlier ordered the release of the passport of the first defendant, Esar Dangabar, to enable him travel abroad for medical attention.
Dangabar, through his lawyer, Mrs. Victoria Awomolow (SAN ), holding brief for Mr. Adegboyega Awomolow (SAN) applied for the release of the passport, saying Dangabar had been sick for some time.
The judge, Justice Hussein Baba Yusuf, granted the prayers and adjourned the case until June 20 for the cross-examination of the witness by the prosecution.

Author: News Editor

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