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N14bn Police pension scam: Onyegbula opens case in trial-within-trial

N14bn Police pension scam: Onyegbula opens case in trial-within-trial

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The fourth defendant in the N14bn Police pension scam, Mrs. Veronica Onyegbula, on Monday at an FCT High Court, Abuja, opened her case in the trial-within-trial, to ascertain the voluntariness of her statement to EFCC.

Onyegbula is the fourth defendant in the case filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission against her and six others.

Others are: Esar Dangabar, Atiku Kigo, Ahmed Wada, Sani Zira, Uzoma Attang, and Christian Madubuke.

EFCC alleged that they were responsible for the disappearance of N14bn Police pension fund.

Onyegbula’s counsel, Mr. Ernest Ikeji, had, earlier, informed the court that EFCC forced his client to make those statements which EFCC wanted to tender, and prayed for trial-within-trial.

SEE ALSO: Court orders arrest of ex-presidential panel investigator

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.

She told the court that all the 10 statements were dictated to her and that the EFCC asked her to co-operate so that they could call her as a witness to testify against her directors.

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.

(NAN )

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