The Ondo State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Clement Faboyede, who is being tried for allegedly laundering N500m in the build-up to the 2015 general elections, has disowned eight out of the 10 extrajudicial statements he made to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Faboyede’s co-defendant, Modupe Adetokunbo, who served as the Ondo State Coordinator of President Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation in 2015, similarly disowned the statements he made to the anti-graft agency.
A former Ondo State Attorney General, Mr Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), who is defending them before the Federal High Court in Lagos, told the court on Thursday that Faboyede and Adetokunbo did not make the statements to the EFCC voluntarily.
Jegede argued that it would, therefore, be a violation of Section 29(2) (a) of the Evidence Act for the court to admit the statements as exhibits against them.
The prosecutor, Mohammed Idris, had sought to tender the statements against the defendants through the second prosecution witness, Usman Zakari, an investigator with the EFCC.
Zakari had, in his testimony, told the court that he was part of the team that investigated the money laundering allegation against the PDP chiefs, adding that upon their visit to the EFCC office, the defendants made statements.
The investigator told the court that the defendants were duly cautioned before writing the statements.
But when the prosecutor urged the court to admit the statements in evidence against the defendants, their counsel objected, saying the statements were not voluntarily made.
He, therefore, prayed the judge to order a trial-within-trial to test the voluntariness of the statements.
Consequently, Justice Saliu Saidu adjourned till May 16 for trial-within-trial.
Faboyede and Adetokunbo were arraigned in June last year on three counts of money laundering.
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.
But Faboyede and Adetokunbo have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
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