Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
The trial of Mustapha Audu, son of the former Kogi State Governor, Abubakar Audu and his wife, Zahrah, for an alleged N18 million fraud began yesterday before an Abuja High Court.
Audu’s son was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside, Zahrah and their company, Constructor Guild Limited.
They were alleged to have collected N18 million from one Nike Kolawole, to acquire a four-bedroom apartment for her at Ruskin Terrace, Katamkpe Extension, Abuja, but failed to do so.
Testifying against the accused persons, a prosecution witness, Mr Abdul Ibrahim, led in evidence by the EFCC Counsel, Mr Samuel Ugwuegulam, told the court that the matter was reported by one Mrs Nike Kolawole.
Ibrahim said in his testimony that the accused obtained the same amount under false pretext, according to him, the complainant paid N3 million first as commitment fee.
He further testified that the complainant paid the first installment of N10 million for the four-bedroom apartment and another N5 million installment.
The witness said he discovered during investigation that the first accused took Kolawole (the complainant) to one plot of land in Idu-Sabo village, Abuja, where they claimed to have proposed a mass housing estate.
He said the accused made five different statements during interrogation at the EFCC office and the prosecuting counsel therefore craved the indulgence of the court to tender the statements in evidence.
However, counsel to the accused, Mr. Okechukwu Ajunwa, did not oppose the application.
Justice Sadiq Umar, therefore, admitted the statements of the accused dated May 14, 16, 31, 14 and June 12, 2013 as exhibits.
Ajunwa prayed the court to issue an order directing the EFCC to release the accused`s passport, who have been on bail granted by the court to enable him travel out of the country for medication.
Justice Umar adjourned the case to October 28 for continuation of cross examination.
Mustapha and Zahra Audu were arraigned by the EFCC on a three-count charge of alleged conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretence and fraud.