Abuja – Mrs Veronica Onyegbula, the fourth defendant in the N14billion police pension scam on Monday at an FCT High Court, 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 (EFCC) 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 N14 billion 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.
Onyegbula, led in evidence by Ikeji, told the court that between Feb. 13 to Feb.17, 2012 she wrote about 10 statements.
She said that when she was taken to the EFCC on Feb. 13, she was taken to one Mustapha Gandaya.
” He took me to one Aliyu Habibu and he asked me if I know the reason why I was there and I said no.
” He said that I conspired with my directors to steal N14 billion between 2009 to 2011, and I said I don’t know anything about such amount and I have never touched such money” she said.
She added that Habibu started shouting that if she doesn’t tell him how they shared the money that he would personally send him 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 out of fear.
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 will call her as a witness to testify against her directors.
Onyegbula added that she was promised by the EFCC that if she cooperates, her name will 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 for the release of the international 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, as he has 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 )