A prosecution witness, Shuaibu Seidu, an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on February 4, 2019, gave more evidence before Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos in the ongoing trial of a former Minister of State for Finance, Nenadi Usman, and others.
Usman is facing trial along with Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation and Chairman of the 2015 Goodluck Jonathan Presidential Campaign Organisation for an alleged N4.9 billion.
Also charged with them are a former National Chairman of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Yusuf Danjuma and a company, Joint-Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited.
Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, Seidu, the third witness, told the court how on the instruction of Usman, a sum of N1.5 billion was transferred from the Federal Ministry of External Affairs to the Zenith Bank account of Joint-Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited.
Seidu further added that while acting on an intelligence report, it was discovered that the first and third defendants owned Joint-Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited, the company that was used to launder the said funds.
He said: “We commenced investigations immediately after receiving the intelligence report.
“We wrote a letter of investigation activities to Zenith Bank, requesting the statement of account of Joint-Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited and all the transactions instruments.
“Zenith Bank responded to our request and provided the Commission with the account opening package, statement of account of the company showing the transaction history and the certificate of identification.
“The Commission was also provided with the transaction instruments of withdrawals and the instructions regarding the transfer of the funds.”
He further told the court that a total sum of N1.5billion was transferred from the Federal Ministry of External Affairs to Joint-Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited in three tranches of N400million, N800million and N300million respectively.
He said: “The monies were transferred to Joint-Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited by Zenith Bank manager in Maitama, Abuja from the Ministry of External Affairs, as the manager was instructed by the co-signatories to the Ministry’s account.
“The co-signatories are: A. Dadisu and B.D. Kikselenso, who were found to be staff of the Ministry.
“Dadisu and Kikselenso were invited to the EFCC and were interviewed, cautioned and wrote statements admitting that they signed for the monies on the instruction of the first defendant.”
In his further testimony, he told the court that the N1.5billion was from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the Ministry’s Imprest account.
He also stated that “investigations showed that there was no service, contract or project rendered by Joint-Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited to the Ministry of External Affairs.”
During the proceedings, the prosecution witness gave evidence of how the monies transferred to Joint-Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited was disbursed to individual accounts, saying, “On January 9, 2015, the sum of N100million was transferred to one Ezekiel Olajide Aminu and investigation revealed that the money was used for political campaign of Goodluck Jonathan.
“On the Same day, another N100million was transferred to an account of Okedu Construction Limited, which was also used for political campaign of Goodluck Jonathan as shown by investigation.
“We found out that Okedu Construction Limited was owned by former Minister of State For Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Jumoke Akinjide.
“A sum of N120million was transferred to one Achike Ndowa and another N120million transferred to one Viola Onwuliri, which was also used for political campaign as revealed by investigation.”
At this point, counsel for the first defendant, Ferdinand Obi, SAN, raised an objection on the grounds that there was no charge of disbursement of funds in the charges preferred against the defendants.
He, therefore, prayed the court to expunge all the evidence given by the witness.
Counsels for the other defendants aligned with the submission of Obi.
In his response, Oyedepo told the court that the fact in issue bordered on the retention of the proceeds of unlawful activities, adding that “the fact of disbursement of funds is connected to the fact in issue, which is retention of the proceeds of unlawful activities, as it will help the court to prove the fact in issue.”
Justice Aikawa adjourned the matter to February 20 and 21, 2019 for ruling and continuation of trial.