754MIL NIMASA FRAUD: MY STATEMENT WAS OBTAINED UNDER DURESS, DEFENDANT TELLS COURT

By Abdulwahab Abdulah Lagos—

Ekene Nwakuche, a defendant in the ongoing N754million fraud case allegedly committed at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA,  told an Ikeja High Court yesterday, that his statement to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, was obtained under duress.

Nwakuche who is being prosecuted by the EFCC alongside Mr Patrick Akpobolokemi, a former Director General of NIMASA alongside five others, said he was not allowed to have access to lawyer before his statement was obtained.

Other co-defendants are; Ezekiel Agaba Governor Juan, Vincent Udoye, Adegboyega Olopoenia and a company, Gama Marine Nigeria Limited. Led in evidence by Mr Seni Adio (SAN) Nwakuche said, “On Sept. 30, 2015, at 9.30 a.m, my boss, Mr Ezekiel Agaba, and I went to the office of the EFCC on invitation.

We were not attended to until about 2.00 p.m; I introduced myself as Agaba’s Personal Assistant (PA.) “I wrote my name, signature and I was told to write about myself, when I questioned why I was to write about myself, I was told that I was the guest of EFCC operatives and that it was only normal for me to tell them about myself.

At some point, I asked for a lawyer but I was told by the EFCC operatives that I didn’t need a lawyer, that I didn’t have a case to answer and that it was our DG, Mr Akpobolokemi that they were after.” He further revealed how Mr Orji Chukwuma, an EFCC operative, allegedly threatened to detain him if he refused to co-operate.

“One day, during a routine visit to the EFCC, I was told that I was to be arraigned in court, despite prior reassurances that I’ll not be arraigned,” he said. Under cross examination however, Nwakuche’s claim was debunked by the EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, who argued: “The cautionary words were written before you were told to start writing and you signed it which showed you understood.’’

Justice Raliatu Adebiyi adjourned the case to March 29 for adoption of addresses in the trial within a tria
Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/02/alleged-n754m-fraud-efcc-obtained-statement-duress/

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