• Says Badeh wanted me to claim his property
Alex Enumah in Abuja
Mr. Ibrahim Maye, a prosecution witness in the trial of Mr. Azibaola Roberts, cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan, who is facing corruption and money laundering charges preferred against him by the federal government yesterday told a Federal High Court in Abuja that former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), authorised the payment mandate of $40 million in favour of One Plus Limited, a company said to belong to Roberts.
Roberts along with his wife is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged payment of $40million into their company, One Plus Holdings Nigeria Limited, by the Office of the ONSA).
They pleaded not guilty to the seven-count charge read to them before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court.
At the resumed trial yesterday, Maye, who was the first prosecution witness (PW1) of the EFCC, told the court that Dasuki had endorsed a memo to him with details of the company’s account.
According to the witness, a memo was sent to him in his capacity as the Permanent Secretary, Special Service Office, a department in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
He said: “On August 20, 2014, the NSA endorsed a memo to me which originated from the director of finance and administration in the office of the NSA giving bank details of a company called One Plus.
“The memo also gave details of the purpose for which the company was to be paid the sum of $40 million.
“The NSA instructed me to prepare payment and my understanding of that was that I should prepare the payment mandated for One Plus for his signature.”
Maye disclosed that after he got the memo, he prepared the payment mandate and send it to Dasuki who then signed and return it back to him.
The witness stated further that having received the payment mandate, “the subsequent necessary action was for me to counter sign, which I did and I sent it to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for payment,” Maye said.
Earlier, the lead counsel to the 1st defendant, Chris Uche (SAN), had urged the court for a short adjournment on the grounds that he needed time to meet with his client to prepare for his defence.
In a bench ruling, the trial judge, Justice Dimgba, agreed with the prosecution that trial should commence since the defence had sufficient time to prepare their defence.
Meanwhile, the trial of a former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex S. Badeh, continued yesterday before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja with the prosecution witness, Mustapha Yerima, further stating how he was pressured by the defendants to claim the property allegedly acquired with the proceeds of crime.
Badeh is standing trial alongside Iyalikam Nigeria Limited for allegedly abusing his office as CDS by using the dollar equivalent of the sum of N1.4billion removed from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force to purchase properties in choice areas of Abuja between January and December, 2013 – an offence which contravenes Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.
At the resumed hearing, Yerima, who had earlier testified as PW4, further testified to the effect that, Air Commodore Salisu Abdullahi Yushau (rtd) had invited him over to the Defence House, after his (Yushau’s) retirement to coordinate the handover of documents and discuss progress of construction of the plaza, then ongoing.
“In my evidence-in-chief, I testified that PW1 (Yushau) called a meeting after he had retired from the Nigerian Air Force. The meeting held at the Defence House and we discussed progress of work in the plaza. Barrister Timothy Muje and Barrister Umar were in attendance. I had met Barrister Umar once or twice before that meeting but there isn’t much familiarity between us.
“It was after this that Barrister Muje called and asked that we both meet somewhere at Wuse II. This was the same day the EFCC invited me to their office.
“Muje handed some documents over to me but failed to give me (Ryte Builders) the power of attorney which I asked him for.,” Yerima said.
Under cross-examination, Yerima insisted that he was instructed by Yushau to claim the said property, when operatives of the EFCC began to investigate the matter.
“The idea that was conveyed to me by PW1 after their meeting was for me to go and claim the property as instructed”, Yerima insisted.
The matter was adjourned to June 29, 2016 for continuation of trial.