A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos presided over by Justice Mohammed Idris on Monday made a declaration that the statements made by the former Senior Special Assistant to the immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, Dr Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, while in detention were made voluntarily.
In his ruling on the trial within trial to ascertain the voluntariness of the statement made to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the course of investigation, Justice Idris held that the extra-judicial statements of the defendant can only be admissible if same are confessional in nature.
According to Justice Idris, â€œThe question then is, are the statements confessional?
â€œA confession before the court can best be described as a judicial confession. â€œA confession is that which is made before the police and any other security agent while investigation is on.
â€œThere is no evidence before the court that the statements made by the defendant is not a confessional statement.
â€œI cannot therefore hold that the statements was not voluntarily made.â€ Justice Idris further insisted that the statements in contention were made under caution.
Further hearing on the matter has been adjourned until June 21, 2017.
Justice Idris had set aside May 8, 2017 for ruling after parties in the suit adopted their written addresses in a trial-within-trial earlier ordered by the court.
In his contention before the court, Dudafa had posited that he was â€œtormentedâ€ by the anti-graft agency apparently in a move to get him to implicate the former President Jonathan.
Specifically, Dudafa contended that all the statements written were dictated to him, with an addition that he was induced to sign in exchange for his freedom.
The former presidential aide equally maintained that he was denied access to his relatives, and that for a period of time, he was not given food.
He posited that the EFCC doctored the video recording of his statements by blotting out the part where he protested the fact that he was being induced to make a statement.
In adopting his written address, counsel to Dudafa, Gbenga Oyewole said: â€œWe urge your lordship to reject the statement of the first defendant as it was not made voluntarily.
â€œOn the video, the relevant part where the witness protested the voluntariness of the statement was expunged.
â€œFrom the preponderance of evidence, we urge the court to reject the statement as having been made involuntarily.â€
On his part, counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, asked Justice Idris to admit the statements in evidence, insisting that there were records that people visited Dudafa, that he was duly cautioned and made his statements voluntarily.
The anti-graft agency had docked Dudafa and Iwejuo Joseph Nna (alias Taiwo A. Ebenezer and Olugbenga Isaiah) before the court on a 23-counts charge of conspiracy and concealment of crime proceeds.
The duo were accused of conspiracy to conceal proceeds of crime in a sum to the tune of over N1.6 billion on June 11, 2013.
The defendants however pleaded not guilty to all the counts.