AN ABUJA High Court has admitted in evidence a statement made by former Head of Service of the Federation, Elder Steve Oronsaye, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, during his interrogation in a petition on alleged financial crimes filed against him. The court, however, said caution would be applied in attaching probate value to the statement, having not been tendered by the appropriate person in the investigating team of the EFCC. Justice Olasunmbo Goodluck
admitted the statement in her ruling, in spite of an objection raised against tendering of the statement by the defence counsel, Dr. Abiodun Layonu (SAN). Layonu, who stood for Oronsaye in the trial, had vehemently objected to tendering of the statement by the prosecution witness, Hamma- Adama Bello, an operative of the EFCC, on the ground that he was not the officer who applied cautionary word on statement. The grouse of the counsel was that since the sixth prosecution witness (Bello) did not counter- sign statement, he could not be cross-examined on the statement, as such, 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 to allow the witness to tender it on the ground that 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 one person administers cautionary word and counter-sign at a time;
thus, even though the PW 6 was present at the time the statement was made, only one signature was necessary on the statement made by the defendant. This Justice Goodluck agreed with the prosecution counsel that the witness could tender the document but noted that caution would be applied by the court in attaching probate value to the statement. She therefore allowed the witness to tender the document in evidence. Meanwhile, the trial of the ex-Head of Service on money laundering charges continues today.

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