Tuesday, 23 January 2018

$40m scam: Judge fumes as EFCC fails to produce vital document against Jonathan’s cousin

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday, expessed his dissatisfaction over the way the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is handlng the trial of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s cousin, Robert Azibaola.

Justice Dimgba frowned at failure by the EFCC to adduce some documents which the court had in December last year, ordered the agency to produce.

The documents, which the judge ordered the EFCC to produce, includes an acceptance letter and execution of alleged $40 million contract that the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, awarded to the ex-President’s cousin’s firm-Oneplus.

When the case came up on Monday, EFCC prosecutor, Mr. Sylvania Tahir, did not make appearance, though wrote to the court.

In the letter, Tahir regretted his absence, saying he had a matter at the Court of Appeal and would be available at the next hearing of the matter.

The defence counsel, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, had told the court that the required documents were vital for the cross-examination of the tenth prosecution witness, David Mkpe, an EFCC operative, who claimed to have investigated the alleged contract scam.

Meantime, reacting to the letter by the prosecution, Justice Dimgba said he was not pleased that he trial was being delayed by the EFCC.

“I don’t like this kind of thing. This is the kind of thing that gets me angry”, the Judge fumed, adding that EFCC should produce the documents on Wednesday when the case was adjourned to.

Azibaola and his wife, Stella, are answering to a nine-count charge bordering on alleged $40million contract scam.

Their company, One Plus Holdings Nigeria Limited, was also cited as the 3rd defendant in the charge.

Specifically, EFCC, alleged that the defendants received a $40million contract from the detained former National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki, retd.

It alleged that they conspired “to commit an illegal act to wit: money laundering of the sum of $40million transferred to the domiciliary account of One Plus Holdings Nigeria Limited with Zenith Bank, Account No. 5070365750 from the account of ONSA with the Central Bank of Nigeria upon a mandate Ref. No. 128/S.5LX/139 purporting to be for the supply of Tactical Communication Kits for Special Services and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8(a) of the Money Laundering( Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act”.

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