High court admits Steve Oronsaye’s statement in alleged money laundering
The Federal Capital Territory High Court yesterday admitted in evidence, the statement made by former Head of Service of the Federation, Elder Steve Oronsaye, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The statement, which was admitted at the resumed trial, was made during Oronsaye’s interrogation in a petition on alleged financial crimes filed against him.
The court, however, noted that caution would be applied in attaching probate value to the statement.
This was hinged on the ground that the document was not tendered by the appropriate personnel in the investigating team of the EFCC.
The defence counsel, Dr. Abiodun Layonu (SAN), had raised objection against tendering of the statement by the sixth prosecution witness.
Hamma-Adama Bello, an operative of EFCC, on the ground that he was not the officer who applied cautionary word on statement.
The grouse of the counsel was that since Bello did not counter-sign the statement, he cannot be cross-examined on it and, therefore, he was not the appropriate person to tender the document in evidence.
But the prosecution counsel, Offem Uket, who sought to tender the document through the witness urged Justice Goodluck Olasunmbo to allow the witness to tender it on the ground he was a member of the team that investigated the petition and was present when the defendant made the statement.
Uket further informed the court that the standard practice was that only a person administers cautionary word and counter-sign at a time. Thus, even though the PW six was present at the time it was made, only one signature was necessary on the statement made by the defendant.
In her ruling after considering facts and circumstances, Justice Olasunmbo Goodluck admitted the statement.
Although the judge agreed with the prosecution counsel that the witness can tender the document, she, however, noted that caution would be applied by the court in attaching probate value to the statement.
On this ground, she allowed the witness to tender the document in evidence and consequently admitted it.
The trial continues today.
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