Evoigbe Chidi, a prosecution witness, in the trial of a former governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, on Thursday, July 27, 2017 narrated how he used own companies to divert state funds during his tenure.
The prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, who led the witness in evidence tendered documents detailing the movement of the funds which were admitted as exhibits by the court.
Nyako is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a 37-count charge of conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office and money laundering to the tune of N29billion before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja.
He is standing trial alongside his son, Senator Abdul-Aziz Nyako, Abubakar Aliyu and Zulkifikk Abba.
Nyako and his co-accused were alleged to have used five companies – Blue Opal Limited, Sebore Farms & Extension Limited, Pagoda Fortunes Limited, Tower Assets Management Limited and Crust Energy Limited for the illegal diversion of the funds.
Testifying as PW14, Chidi, a compliance officer with Ecobank Nigeria Plc, stated that:
“Sometime in 2014, we got a query from the EFCC, requesting us to provide them with details of Tower Asset Management Limited which relates to the documentation of the account and transactions for certain period.
“In response, we prepared the account opening documents and statements of account, which was covered by Certificate of Identification and forwarded them to EFCC with a covering letter”.
When asked by Jacobs to tell the court about the documents, Chidi said that “the first document relates to Tower Asset Management Limited while the second one relates to enquiries on other accounts namely; AMDAK Investment limited, Kirkelly Investment limited, AMDAK Road Construction limited, and Russelly Farms Nigeria limited”.
The witness added that “after checking through our records, we could only found AMDAK Investment Limited and AMDAK Road Construction Limited, which we forwarded to the Commission as requested”.
The documents were tendered and admitted as:
Letter issued by Ecobank dated July 18, 2014, addressed to the Head Economic Governance, EFCC, captioned: Re-investigation activities, Tower Asset Management Limited, conveying the certified true copy of the account opening package including the mandate card, certified true copy of statement of account from January 1, 2007 till date, hard and soft copy and Certificate of Identification dated July 18 2014 – Exhibit J1.
Letter issued by Ecobank dated August 18, 2014, addressed to Head Economic Governance, EFCC, captioned: Re-investigation Activities, Account Name; AMDAK Investment limited, Kirkelly Investment limited, AMDAK Road Construction Limited, Russelly Farms Nigeria limited, conveying the account opening packages, Statement of account from inception till date, soft and hard copy, together with Certificate of Identification dated August 18, 2014 – Exhibit J2.
When asked to look at Exhibit J1 and tell the court about the transactions therein, Chidi said:
“On February 5, 2013, there was a transfer of N44.8million from Tower Asset to Blue Opal.
“On May 15, 2013, there was another transfer of N46million from Tower Asset Management Limited to Kakawa Discount House.
“On May 17, 2013, there was an outward transfer of N45.6million to Na Abba Bureau De Change Limited.
“On May 30, 2013, there was an entry of N59.3million by other of Tower Asset Management Limited to Kakawa Discount House.
“On June 4, 2013, there was a credit entry of N16million by order of Tower Asset Management Limited in favour of Quest Bureau De Change limited.
That same day, the same amount was debited from the same account. It reads: “Transfer from Order of Tower Asset in Favour of Quest limited”.
“On June 5, 2013, there was a debit entry of N43.4million. The transfer outward to Ladan Bureau De Change limited”.
The Pw14 was further asked to look at Exhibit J2 and also tell the court the transactions therein.
“On November 28, 2011, there was a credit entry into the account of N205.3million by order of Local government JOI from Zenith bank.
“The next is a credit entry of N85million, a transfer from Zenith bank by order of Adamawa State Sub-treasury Capital Expenditure.
“On June 5, 2012, credit entry of N50million was transferred from Adamawa State Sub-treasury from Zenith bank.
“On June 14, 2012 another credit entry of N75.9million by order of Local government Pro.
“On August 8, 2012, there was credit entry of N49.4million by order of Adamawa State Sub-treasury from Zenith bank.
“The next was a credit entry of N50million on September 11, 2012 by order of Adamawa State Sub -treasury from Zenith bank.
“On November 5, 2012, there was another credit entry of N17.3million from Adamawa State Sub-treasury from Zenith bank.
“On January 4, 2013, there was a credit entry of N8.7million by order of Adamawa State government, from First Bank.
“On April 8, 2013, there was a credit entry of N13.1million, a transfer from Adamawa State government LOC.
“Next is a credit entry of N26.2million on October 7, 2013 by order of Local government Joint Pr.
“There was also another credit entry of N29.9million on May 7, 2013, by order of Local Government Joint Pr”.
Justice Abang adjourned to September 26 – 29, 2017 for the continuation of trial.