The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has commenced the trial of a former Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Tuoyo Omatsuli, and three others over an alleged N3.6bn fraud at a Federal High Court in Lagos.
On the 8th of Nov., 2018, the anti-graft agency had arraigned Omatsuli alongside Don Parker Properties Ltd, Francis Momoh and Building Associates Ltd before Justice Saliu Saidu on 45 charges bordering on the alleged offence.
At today’s proceedings, the EFCC called its first witness, Eyo Bassey Francis, a software developer and contractor.
Led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Ekele Iheanacho, the witness said he had executed contracts for the NDDC as well as Akwa-Ibom, Imo and Abia state governments.
He also said that huge sums of money were transferred to the account of two of his companies by Omatsuli in 2014.
“In 2014, while as a contractor with NDDC, I came in contact with Mr. Tuoyo Omatsuli. In the course of our interaction, I told him that I run an online platform and I do a lot of imports. I also told him that because of my engagement in import, I was able to source for foreign currencies.
“He later called me on phone and told me that some money will be transferred into my account. I got initial sum of N80 million transferred into the Heritage Bank account of one of my companies, Asiladrrin Global Consulting Ltd. I converted the money into dollars as directed by Mr Tuoyo,” he said.
Francis also disclosed that he had an inflow of N340 million in two tranches of N160 million and N180 million into the company’s account within the same period.
He said he also converted the money into dollars and “handed it over to Mr Tuoyo; NDDC’s Executive Director of Finance and Administration as well as the NDDC’s MD”.
Speaking further, the witness said: “Sometimes in January 2015, I also got a call from the 1st defendant (Mr. Tuoyo) telling me that I will be getting a payment from a company known as Building Associate. I later got an inflow of N349, 650, 000 into the Heritage Bank account of my company, College-Pro Synergy Ltd. “I was furnished with an account of a firm, Greenhouse Investment, owned by the Special Assistant on Finance to the then NDDC’s MD to which I transferred N100 million. The balance was converted to dollars as directed by Mr. Tuoyo”.
When asked by the prosecution lawyer, whether he executed any contract for Building Associate Ltd to warrant the transfer of the fund to his company’s account, he said: “I did not execute any contract for Building Associate”
Under cross-examination by Tuoyo’s lawyer, Professor Amuda Kehinde (SAN), the witness said he did not transfer any money to the 1st defendant’s account.
He maintained that his oral testimony was part of the statement he wrote on August 14, 2017, for the EFCC.
Further hearing in the trial continues on April 11, 2019.