Oronsaye to open defence in fraud case Dec 9

A former Head of Service of the Federation, Chief Steve oronsaye, will, on December 9, start his defence in the N196 million fraud charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The anti-corruption commission had arraigned Orosanye, who was the chairman of the Presidential Taskforce Committee on Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, which was set up by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, for alleged breach of trust and criminal diversion of the N196 million meant for the committee.

After calling six witnesses to prove its allegations against the former Head of Service of the Federation, the prosecution closed its case on Tuesday.

During Tuesday’s sitting, the Prosecution Witness 6 (PW6), Mr Hammaadama Bello, an operative with the EFCC, while being cross examined by defence counsel, Ade Okeaya-Inneh, informed the court that following two petitions received by the commission, investigation into the fraud was approved by a former chairman of the anti-graft commission, Ibrahim Lamorde.

The prosecution witness told the court, presided over by Justice Olasumbo Goodluck, that the two petitions written to the commission were anonymous, informing that the authors could not be located for questioning.

Asked if it was the practice to act on anonymous petition, the witness said it was standard operation procedure, adding that “the executive chairman minuted on the petition and I acted on it.”

He also admitted that the addresses on the petitions were not clear enough for the commission to trace them, which he informed was the usual practice whenever the commission received any petition.

According to Bello, despite the anonymity of the petitions, EFCC carried out its investigation and discovered that the committee opened two bank accounts with two different banks.

He stated that the accounts were opened with the Zenith Bank and Access Bank respectively, submitting that the accounts were opened in the name of the presidential taskforce committee.

The prosecution witness added that while the Zenith Bank account had two signatories, the defendant and the secretary of the committee, Jala Arabi, the Access Bank account had Orosanye as the sole signatory.

In answering another question, the witness informed that there was no complaint from members of the committee before EFCC investigated its activities.

Bello said in August 2014, the then Minister of Finance, Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, acted on the request of the defendant to seek approval from former President Jonathan to get funding from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other regulators.

The lead prosecution witness, Ofem Uket, announced to the court that the prosecution had closed its case against Orosanye, saying that it was now left for the defence to open its defence.

Based on this, Justice Goodluck adjourned the case till December 9 for the defendant to open his defence.