By The Punch
An ex-Administrative Secretary with the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mr. Christian Nwosu, on Thursday alleged that he was cajoled into confessing to taking a bribe of N30m to compromise the 2015 general elections.
Nwosu, who is being prosecuted before the Federal High Court in Lagos for alleged bribery, claimed that the three confessional statements he made to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on December 28, 2016 and March 15 and 22, 2017 were not done voluntarily.
He claimed to have been threatened and cajoled to make the confessional statements, adding that he was not given the opportunity to consult his lawyer before he made the statements.
He, however, admitted that he signed for and collected N30m from Fidelity Bank.
Nwosu stated this on Thursday while being led in evidence by his lawyer, Mr. Victor Opara, during a trial-within-trial ordered by Justice Mohammed Idris to test the voluntariness of three confessional statements he made to the EFCC.
The EFCC accused him of conspiring with two other INEC officials to take a total bribe of N264.88m from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, to compromise the election.
He had earlier pleaded guilty to the charges and opted for a plea bargain, after which the EFCC told the court that it had already recovered N5m cash and a landed property worth N25m from him.
But Nwosu later abandoned the plea bargain after Justice Idris rejected the N500,000 fine proposed for him as punishment by the EFCC.
Justice Idris had held that by virtue of Section 16(2)(b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, under which Nwosu was charged, he was supposed to pay a fine of N10m or go to jail for two years.
At his resumed trial on Thursday, he maintained that he never voluntarily entered into a plea bargain with the EFCC but was cajoled to do so.