Former aide to President Goodluck Jonathan, Owei Dudafa, has said that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) obtained his statements under duress. Dudafa made the claim when he testified in his trial-within-trial at the Federal High Court, Lagos, on Monday. The defendant had earlier claimed that the statements he made to EFCC were not voluntarily made.
He said both his oral and written statements were all extracted through the use of maximum force during his detention in the commission’s facility. Waripamo-Owei Dudafa Dudafa said during the period he was eclipsed with pain from a spinal cord ailment, adding that the commission denied him adequate medical treatment.
The former presidential aide said he was forced to write all the statements he wrote, and was induced to sign in exchange for freedom. Dudafa said he was arrested on April 17, 2016, and kept in detention untill the evening of the following day without anybody explaining why he was arrested.
He said that he was eventually taken to EFCC’s office on Awolowo Road in Lagos, for interrogation, where he made four statements, including an asset declaration form which he described as a sham. He said the operatives of the commission denied him access to food as his family members were barred from bringing him food.
“April 27 till May 12 was so tormenting. Sometimes I was taken out from the detention centre and kept in EFCC office between 8 a.m and 8 p.m, and sometimes until 11 p.m depending on their mood. “The ailment I have today is a spinal cord dislocation. It was within that period of my torture and agony that my spinal cord got dislocated.
“I was not in the best frame to write statements but went on to force them from me. The document remains fake as they only brought out those items to nail me,’’ he said. He also said the operatives denied him access to counsel as at the time the statements were extracted, adding that “in fact my lawyers were driven away’’.
Dudafa said EFCC officials had only given him paracetamol and aspirin, and allowed him to visit an in-house Medical Doctor when his situation worsened. He said that the EFCC’s Doctor had referred him to a Military Hospital where tests revealed that he had a spinal cord injury and needed to see a specialist.
He informed the court that he was not taken to any specialist, adding that the commission turned down his family’s request to bring in a specialist to the facility to examine him. “My Lord, I was dehumanised to the extent that I got scared of the people around me.
The mis-treatment was also extended to my immediate family as they froze my wife’s bank account and My Children’s Schools savings accounts in a bid to frustrate and break me down. “When I realised that I did not make any statements voluntarily I raised objections,’’ he said. During cross examination by Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, EFCC’s prosecutor, Dudafa admitted that he was cautioned before making the statements.
He said that he was also never forced to admit committing any crime in the statements. He, however, insisted that he was asked to sign the statements. Justice Mohammed Idris adjourned the case till Jan. 24 for continuation of the trial-within-trial. EFCC had arraigned him and Iwejuo Joseph Nna alias Taiwo A. Ebenezer and Olugbenga Isaiah, before Justice Idris on 23-counts of conspiracy and concealment of crime proceeds.
They were accused of conspiring to conceal proceeds of crime amounting to over N1.6 billion on June 11, 2013. They, however, pleaded not guilty to all the counts. It was alleged that Dudafa, between June 1 and June 4, 2015, procured Nna and Ebiwise Resources to conceal N150 million being proceeds of crime