A Federal High Court in Lagos has heard how the sum of N4.6 billion was allegedly transferred into a Joint Trust account and used to finance the Presidential Campaign of former President, Goodluck Jonathan.
An Investigating Officer, with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Shehu Shuaibu gave this revelation, while testifying before Justice Daniel Osiagor in the trial of former Minister of Finance, Senator Usman, former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, and two others over alleged money laundering and other fraud related offences.
Under cross-examination, by lawyer to the first Defendant, Mr Ferdinand Orbih, SAN, the witness stated that his team, from the Special Task Force of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), did not invite former President Jonathan throughout their investigation.
The witness admitted that the first Defendant, Nenadi Usman, was the Director of Finance, President Goodluck Jonathan’s Campaign Organisation, while the second Defendant, Fani-Kayode, was Director, Media and Publicity of the organisation.
Asked why he did not invite President Jonathan to confirm or deny if the money paid into the Joint Trust account was expended for his campaign or not, he responded that the commission did not invite Jonathan, since the President was not the one that expended the money’.
When asked why those that transferred money into the Joint Trust account were arrested and prosecuted, he said “To the best of my knowledge, I do not know whether those that transferred money into the Joint Trust Account were charged to court or not. I am not a lawyer, and would not know why they have not been charged before the court”
The witness further disclosed that the money was paid from the State House to the NEA Account, before it was transferred into the Joint Trust account.
He stated that the money was paid by the Permanent Secretary, Sate House, Engineer Nebolisa Emodi, and that he was invited for Interrogation by his team but not charged to court.
There was controversy when asked to name those that stole the money the Defendants are facing trial on, he said during his investigation, he did not investigate the Defendants for stealing, hence he would not know if they stole the money or not.
However, Ferdinand Orbih, SAN, counsel to the 2nd Defendant confronted the witness with a Certified True Copy of Proceedings before Justice Rilwanu Aikawa, who was handling the case before he was transferred out of Lagos, where the witness stated that the money was stolen.
“I did not investigate any stolen money, and I never used the word stolen, what I said was that the money was fraudulently transferred”, the witness added.
Justice Osiagor, thereafter adjourned the matter till tomorrow (Friday) for continuation of trial.
Fani-Kayode is standing trial alongside a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenadi Usman, a former Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Yusuf Danjuma, and a company, Jointrust Dimensions Nigeria Ltd.
The EFCC had earlier preferred a 17-count charge of N4.6 billion money laundering against the defendants before the former trial judge, Justice Mohammed Aikawa.
The defendants had each pleaded not guilty to the counts and were granted bail.
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Hearing of the case had begun before Justice Aikawa and witnesses were being led in evidence before the trial judge was transferred out of the Lagos division of the court.
The case was subsequently assigned to a new trial judge, Justice Daniel Osaigor, and the defendants had to start the case from the beginning (de novo).
In the charge, the defendants were alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015 in Lagos.
They were alleged to have at various times, unlawfully retained over N4.6 billion, which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of unlawful acts of stealing and corruption.
In counts 15 to 17, Fani-Kayode and one Olubode Oke, who is said to be at large, were alleged to have made cash payments of about N30 million to one Paste Poster Co (PPC) of No 125 Lewis St., Lagos.
The said payments were alleged to have been made in excess of amounts allowed by law without going through a financial institution.
The offences were said to have contravened the provisions of sections 15 (3) (4), 16 (2) (b), and 16 (5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.