N500m Fraud: Court Adjourns Further Hearing Against Ondo PDP Chiefs

Justice Saliu Saidu, of a Federal High Court, today, adjourned till February 19, 2020, further trial of Mr. Clement Faboyede and Modupe Adetokunbo, who are standing trial before the court over alleged N500 million fraud.

Justice Saidu fixed the date after listened to Adetokunbo’s challenge of the involuntariness of his statement before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Tokunbo, Coordinator of Ondo State, President Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation in 2015 alongside Clement Faboyede, the State Chairman of the party are being tried before Justice Saliu Saidu led-court on three counts charge bordering on conspiracy, and money laundering.

The duo were  first arraigned before the court sometimes in June 2018 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The prosecution had alleged that the defendants committed the offences on March 27, 2015 and that the offences cocontravened Section 18 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 and are liable to punishment under Section 16(2) of the same Act.

The defendants had pleaded not guilty to the allegations.

The EFCC had called some witnesses and tendered documents allegedly used to commit the offences and the defendants statements, which were admitted as exhibits by the court. As well, closed its case against the defendants.

But Adetokunbo, had challenged the involuntary of his statement on the ground that it was taken under duress.

At the resumed hearing of the charge today, Adetokunbo, who told the court that he is into Communication Marketing, while being led in his defence by his lawyer, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), told the court how he honoured invitations extended to him by the EFCC and how he was being interrogated on the alleged offences.
He said: “we go to the EFCC office on December 8, 2016, we met Usman Zakari, who asked me about N500 million we stole and how we got it. I told him that I did steal any money, he then brought out a document and told me to look at it, it was a document we signed at a bank.

“After few questions, he beckoned on an officer, Oluwatoyin Ige by name, whom he asked to take our statements. I wrote my statement of December 8, 2016, and Zakari later told us that we will be given a paper for our bail. After we were given the paper, i read the conditions, Zakari told us that in addition to the comditioms on the paper, we will make refund of N500 million, the money paid through bank to Ondo State PDP for Presidential Election for 2015 and we must write an undertaken to refund the money.

“As I reteiraited earlier, I told him that I didn’t steal any money and I would be unable to meet that conditions”.

Adetokunbo told the court that upon saying that he has no money to refund, Zakari beckoned on an officer who he also told to prepare ‘D.O’ meaning Detention Order’, they were driven to the EFCC detention center.

He also told the court that when he stood his ground that he has no money to refund, Zakari became more angry and said he is too stubborn and that he has the power to detain him as long as he will.

He further told the court that on December 13, 2016, one of EFCC called him and told him that he is to be taken to the EFCC office, and that when he was there he was told the Ondo State Chapter of PDP had paid a draft of N5m. Adding that it was because of the trauma and the conditions at the detention Centre that he wrote his statement on December 13, 2016.

During cross-examination by the EFCC lawyer, Mr. Idris Mohammed, told the court that he honoured EFCC invitation and was caution before making all my statements and appending my signature. 

He also told the court that he signed and date all the cautionary words. 

He said: “myself, first defendant and ACP kayode went to EFCC office d first day. 

“I agree that am not only person making statements at d conference hall that day, there are other people. I don’t know whether ACP Kayode and the first defendant were in that hall. 

“I made statement to Oluwatoyin on December 8, 2016. My statement of 8 December 2016, was an account of what happened, how the money was received by PDP, through fidelity Bank and my role”.

He states further: “I arrived at EFCC office about 10.30  am. I was asked to wait till 3  before I made statement, two statements were made on that day. The taking of statement commence at  12.45 pm and end 10. 05pm.

“On the statement of 8 December 2016, I did not admitted committing any crime. On that day, we were given bail conditions that we could not met. There is no document to show that in bail conditions to deposit bank drafts in addition to bail conditions.

“Depositing of banks draft was not part bail conditions. I didn’t fulfilled the bail conditions on 8 December 2016, because of failure to produce d Bank draft I was return to the cell

“I made d application for bail on 13 December 2016. I wrote an application earlier before that that which was canceled. 

“I remain in cell due to not meeting up with special condition attach to my bail conditions by Usman zakari till 13 December 2016”. 

When asked by the EFCC lawyer if he reported Zakari alleged ‘hostilities’ to the agency he responded and said: “I didn’t not report to EFCC management over conduct of Usman Zakare and his team”.

He also told the court that non of the EFCC investigators carry arms when he was writing his statement.

Further hearing of the matter has been adjourned till February 19, 2020.