Justice Saliu Saidu, of the Federal High Court in Lagos State, has rejected claims by the Ondo State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Clement Faboyede, and Modupe Adetokunbo, who are standing trial for allegedly laundering N500m in the build-up to the 2015 general elections, that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission obtained their statements under duress.
Ruling on the matter on Thursday, Justice Saidu, who upheld the EFCC’s submission, said the evidence before him did not show claims of coercion.
The defendants had challenged the admissibility of the statement they made to the EFCC, alleging that it was extracted under duress.
To test the voluntariness of the statement, the judge had ordered a trial-within-trial.
In his ruling on Thursday, Justice Saidu said, “There is nothing in both statements that the defendants were coerced or were under duress in making.
“The defendants had the opportunity to have challenged the refund payments demanded by the prosecution in court if they were coerced or under duress in making the payments.
“This court is satisfied that the defendants were not compelled to make the statements under threat or duress and as such, I allow the prosecution to tender both statements with their attachment that are marked Exhibit FC 1 and FC 2 in this case. This is the ruling of the court.”
In the charges, the EFCC alleged that they received a cash sum of N500m from one Owolanke Michael in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.
Faboyede was accused of making N500m cash payment to the Ondo State Election Committee of the PDP without going through any financial institution.
The prosecution said the defendants committed the offence on March 27, 2015, adding that they acted contrary to Section 18 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 and were liable to punishment under Section 16(2) of the same Act.
Both Faboyede and Adetokunbo pleaded not guilty to the charges.