A witness and an official of Nigeria’s anti-graft agency told a court on Wednesday that 300 million Naira out of the arms deal money was paid into the account of the son of a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Bello Abba Mohammed.
Mr Abba Mohammed is being prosecuted alongside his father, Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed, before Justice A.R. Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja on a 4-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust and money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The EFCC’s first witness, Mrs Rouqayya Ibrahim, who is an operative of the anti-graft agency, being led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, said that the payment of 300 million Naira was made in two tranches to the accused person’s company account – BAM Projects and Properties Limited.
She said that the funds were meant for the procurement of arms through the office of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd).
A statement by the spokesperson for the EFCC on Wednesday said Mrs Ibrahim stated that the accused persons, through the firm, withdrew the money from an account of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) operated with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“Discoveries We Made”
The fund was said to have been transferred to the accused persons by the embattled former National Security Adviser, 11 days to the 2015 presidential election.
Mrs Ibrahim told the court that she was attached to the Forensic Accounting unit of the Commission as an analyst.
She stated that, her schedule of duties include general investigations, interview of suspects and complainants, analysis of documents, arrests where necessary, executing search warrants among others.
Mrs Ibrahim further told the court that a Special Task Force was created sometime in October/November 2014 to investigate defence arms contracts and alleged financial misappropriation of funds in the ONSA.
The witness stated that relevant government agencies including banks, staff of the Accountant-General’s Office and that of the ONSA and the CBN were contacted to furnish the Commission with necessary information about the case.
“One of the discoveries we made after receiving relevant documents from the Accountant-General’s Office was a letter written by the Ministry of Finance to the CBN requesting for 100 billion Naira on March 2, 2015. The sum was for several expenditures for several agencies but specifically, 30 billion Naira of the 100 billion Naira was for the ONSA for security issues.
“On March 6, 2015, the AGF wrote to the CBN authorising the release of 30 billion Naira which was paid into ONSA account with CBN on March 11, 2015.
“On March 17, 2015, 300 million Naira out of the 30 billion Naira paid into the ONSA account, was paid into BAM Projects and Properties Limited account in Sterling Bank with the narration on the mandate for the payment being Payment for safe houses,” the witness told the court.
Consequent upon that discovery, Mrs Ibrahim stated that her team requested for the statement of account of BAM Projects and Properties Limited from Sterling Bank.
The analysis, according to her, showed that a payment of 300 million Naira was made on February 27, 2015 in two tranches of 150 million Naira each to BAM Projects and Properties account with Sterling Bank from Jabbama Ada Global Services Limited.
The witness further told the court that the first defendant initially denied knowledge of the 300 million Naira paid into his account, but later admitted after he spoke with his father (the third defendant) who was away at the time.
“The first defendant was confronted with the disbursement of the funds from his account and he confessed that the disbursements were made on the instruction of his father for the purpose of elections,” Mrs Ibrahim stated.
Documents in support of the claim were tendered by Jacobs. Though objected to by the defence counsel, Umoh, his objection was overruled and the documents were admitted in evidence as exhibits.
Thereafter, Justice Mohammed adjourned the case to Tuesday, February 23, 2016 for continuation.
In the said suit, Mohammed’s son (Bello Abba Mohammed) was charged as the first accused person while the firm, BAM Projects and Properties Limited, which was used to perpetrate the fraud and the former PDP Chairman was cited as the second and third accused persons respectively.