Justice Saliu Saidu of a Federal High Court in Lagos Thursday dismissed claims by the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State, Clement Faboyede and his co-accused in a N500 million alleged fraud case, Modupe Adetokunbo, that they were coerced by some operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to make statements while being interrogated at its Lagos office in 2016.
In his ruling on a trial-within-trial ordered to verify the authenticity of the claims by the duo, Justice Saliu Saidu upheld the EFCC’s submissions controverting their claims. He noted that from the evidence before the court, claims of coercion were unproven.
Justice Saidu held: “There is nothing in both statements that the defendants were coerced or were under duress in making the statements or that the writing of the statements was hinged on the refund payments made by the defendants.
“The defendants had the opportunity to have challenged the refund payments demanded by the prosecution in court, if they were actually 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.”
The EFCC had in the course of Faboyede and Tokunbo’s trial sought to tender their statements in evidence. The defence lawyers, however, objected to the admissibility of the said statements, following which the court ordered a trial-within-trial to resolve the issue.