Witnesses give contradictory testimonies in Oronsaye’s case

Former Head of Service of Federation, Stephen Oronsaye  PHOTO: Ladidi Lucy Elukpo

Former Head of Service of Federation, Stephen Oronsaye PHOTO: Ladidi Lucy Elukpo<br />

The two prosecution witnesses in the on-going trial of the former Head of Service of the Federation, Stephen Oronsaye and others yesterday gave contradictory evidences before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

In the trial within trial conducted by Justice Gabriel Kolawole to ascertain the claim made by the second defendant, Osarenkhoe Afe, that his statement was made under duress, the two witnesses, Mr. Mustapha Gadanya and Nurudeen Suleiman gave contradictory testimonies.

Oronsaye and five others including Osarenkhoe Afe are standing trial for an amended 35-count charge bordering on corruption and money laundering.In their testimonies, the first witness, (PW2), an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Gadanya told the court that his team did not seize mobile phones, laptops and iPad from the residence of Afe.

While admitting that a search warrant was executed at Afe’s residence in the Jabi Area of Abuja, he however, denied the claim that the three items were carted away from the house.

Gadanya, who was cross-examined by the counsel to the second defendant, Mr. Oluwale Aladedoye, told Justice Kolawole, that the search warrant was executed in 2011 on the order of a superior officer, based on investigation being conducted on a petition against the defendant.

However, another EFCC witness, Nurudeen Suleiman, also an operative of EFCC, who was led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, admitted that he participated in the search of Afe’s house.

Under cross-examination by Aladedoye, the witness told the court that during the search, items such as mobile phones, laptops and iPad and other items were found in the house of the second defendant and taken away to the office of the EFCC.

The witness further stated that the search team went in a company with a mobile policeman, who was armed, to execute the search warrant.“I knew the second defendant during the investigation of pension case. We went to his house in Jabi and we executed a search warrant there and recovered some items including laptop and iPad, envelope containing documents from the Head of Service, Zenith Bank cheque book, letter headed papers and some other items.

“We recorded all the items recovered from the search warrant of which we signed and also, the second defendant and one of his witnesses signed. Thereafter we returned to the office and we handed over what we have recovered to Mustapha Gadanya.”

“We went to the second defendant house at about 11.30 am and returned immediately after the search. The search took about 30 minutes. We went in Mustapha’s car, four of us. I did not do any other thing on my return aside handing over documents and items to Mustapha,” Suleiman stated.

Justice Kolawole had ordered trial within trial in the case, following a claim by the second defendant that his extra-judicial statement made to the EFCC operatives was under durex.

However, the claim of the second defendant was being disputed by the EFCC, which counter-claimed that the statement was freely made in the interrogation hall of the commission.Further trial has been adjourned till July at the instance of parties in the trial.

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