A former Administrative Secretary with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Christian Nwosu says he was forced to admit collecting a N30 million bribe – which was used to influence the 2015 general elections.
Mr Nwosu is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside two other INEC officials for allegedly taking a bribe of N264.88 million from the former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
- At the federal high court in Lagos where he was arraigned on Thursday, he admitted that he signed for and collected N30 million from Fidelity Bank but said the EFCC forced him to admit acceptance.
- He said the three confessional statements he made to the commission in December 2016 and March 2017 were involuntary.
- He also said the anti-graft agency threatened him to make the statements and that he was not given the opportunity to consult his lawyer before making them.
- Mr Nwosu said this while being led in evidence by Victor Opara, his counsel, at a trial-within-trial ordered by Mohammed Idris, the presiding judge, to test the voluntariness of the three statements.
- He had already pleaded guilty to the charges and opted for a plea bargain but later abandoned the plea after the judge rejected the N500,000 fine proposed by the EFCC as punishment
- The judge had held that the section 16(2)(b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, under which Nwosu was charged, requires him to pay a fine of N10 million or go to jail for two years.
- At the resumed hearing, the EFCC told the court it already recovered N5 million cash and a landed property worth N25 million from Nwosu.