More revelations were made on Thursday at a Federal High Court in Lagos in the ongoing trial of a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenandi Usman, who is facing a corruption charge.
A bank official and witness told the court how N250 million was transferred into an ex-minister’s account from a company.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Usman alongside Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation and the Chairman of the 2015 Goodluck Jonathan Presidential Campaign Organisation.
Others are a former National Chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Yusuf Danjuma and a company — Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria Ltd.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had slammed a 17-count charge bordering on laundering of N4.6 billion.
They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges and were were granted bails.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Thursday, Counsel to the third and fourth accused, Mr Clement Onwuenwuno, began cross-examination of the second prosecution witness,Mr Teslim Ajuwon, who was still under oath.
Onwuenwunor ask the witness to confirm his position in the bank and he confirmed that he was a compliance officer.
Onwuenwunor: Are you the relationship officer or the account officer?
Onwuenwunor asked the witness if he made any statement at EFCC and he responded in the negative.
Onwuenwunor: Before your bank’s letter to the EFCC in February 2016, did your bank raise any query on the account of the fourth accused?
Witness: I am not sure.
Onwuenwunor: Who is a signatory to the fourth accused bank account (exhibit eight)?
Witness: Mr Yusuf Danjuma, the third accused.
Onwuenwunor: In your bank, is it wrong for the third accused to instruct transfer of money to any person?
Witness: It is his mandate.
No re-examination was taken, and the PW2 was discharged.
The EFCC prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, called the third witness, Mrs Shedlis Gana, who swore on the Holy Bible before proceeding to give her testimony.
Gana told the court that she was the branch manager of the Ghana Street branch of Zenith Bank, where the second and fourth accuseds’ accounts are domiciled.
When asked if she knew all the accused, she responded in the affirmative for the accused persons, except the third accused.
Oyedepo: How do you know the second accused?
Witness: He is a former minister and an account officer in my branch, Gloria Chibuikem, opened a personal account for the second accused.
The witness, being directed by the EFCC prosecutor, proceeded to identify instruction letters sent by the accused to the bank for funds transfer to some other accounts.
Gana further matched the debit instruction letters received from the second accused with entries made in Exhibit 7 (second accused’s statement of account).
The witness identified a N250 million debit instruction from Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria Ltd. to credit another account.
Oyedepo: Whose account was credited with that N250 million from Jointrust Dimentions Nigeria Ltd. account?
Witness: Second accused.
In his cross-examination, Counsel to the first accused, Mr Ferdinand Orbih (SAN) asked the witness: Have you ever had cause to complain, that any document submitted to EFCC by your bank, was doctored?
The witness replied: An issue arose like that.
Orbih: That doctored document is it part of the documents you analyzed before this court today?
Witness: Yes it is.
Orbih: Who doctored those documents?
Witness: People photocopying the documents, Mr Peter Alemo and Mr Alozie Alaka.
Orbih: Were they the same staff, that photocopied all the documents sent to the EFCC?
Witness: Yes, they were.
Orbih: Who discovered the doctored documents?
Witness: EFCC did.
Orbih: Do you know if any other document was doctored?
Witness: No, I don’t know.
Orbih: Did you personally carry out any of the transactions?
Witness: No, I didn’t.
Orbih, further asked if the witness could confirm that the cheques, previously tendered into evidence, were not doctored; she replied that she could not confirm.
Orbih: Can you authoritatively say it was the second accused that cashed the cheques?
Witness: I cannot authoritatively say that the account officer told me.
Orbih took the witness through the statement of account of one MFA Research Project, Abuja, in Zenith Bank to identify the outflow of N800 million to the fourth accused.
The witness confirmed that it was also reflected on the forth accused’s statement of account (Exhibit 8).
Justice Aikawa has adjourned until March 2 for continuation of trial. (NAN)
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