The claims by a former Administrative Secretary at the Kwara State office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Christian Nwosu, that he was forced to make statements by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), have been dismissed by a Federal High Court in Lagos.
Nwosu, who is on trial for allegedly collected N30m from former Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, as inducement to rig the 2015 general elections, had claimed that the EFCC allegedly forced him to surrender his property worth N30m. He claimed he was also induced to part with N5m in a bid to regain his freedom.
According to Nwosu, the statements he made at EFCC were dictated to him while the one he made voluntarily was described as “rubbish”
At the start of the trial Nwosu had pleaded guilty as charged but was to later change the plea to not guilty, accusing the EFCC as rewriting his statements, thus setting the stage for trial within trial.
However, the court Monday held that Nwosu voluntarily gave the statements in question and that no iota of truth in his allegations and subsequently dismissed his cliams.
Nwosu and Tijani Inda Bashir were accused of receiving N30m bribe from Mrs Alison-Madueke to rewrite the 2015 general election results.
They were arraigned along with one Yisa Adedoyin, who pleaded guilty to receiving cash payment of N70m from the former Petroleum Minister.
Mrs Alison-Madueke is also named in the charge, but is said to be “at large”.
Justice Mohammed Idris had ordered a trial within trial to determine the truthfulness of Nwosu’s statements.
Ruling on the trial within trial Monday, Justice idris held that there was no sufficient proof that Nwodu did not make his statements voluntarily.
He said he did not find any confession to any crime by Nwosu in the statements.
“A confession, to be a confession, must be direct and positive as far as the charges are concerned. To constitute a confession, a statement must admit that the maker thereof admitted the offences for which he is charged and must be clear, precise and unequivocal.
“It has not been shown that the statements made were direct and unequivocal to the commission of the offence for which the first defendant stands trial in this matter.
“I cannot in the circumstances, therefore, hold these statements are indeed confessional,” the Judge said.
He said Nwosu admitted that a word of caution was read to him before he signed the statements.
Justice Idris added that the first defendant failed to corroborate his claim that he was forced to make the statement.
“In the circumstances, I hold that the statements are admissible in evidence. The statements are, therefore, admitted in evidence and are marked as exhibits in the trial,” Justice Idris said.
He adjourned until January 11, 2018 for continuation of trial.