EFCC presents three more witnesses against Azibaola, wife
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday presented three witnesses who testified in the ongoing trial of a cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Azibaola Robert, his wife, Stella and their company, One Plus Holdings Nigeria Limited, before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja.
Azibaola and his co-defendants were alleged to have diverted $40 million purportedly meant for the supply of Tactical Communication kits for Special Forces which was transferred from the account of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the domiciliary account of their company, One Plus Holdings.
The witnesses, Mohammed A. Bello, Confidence Onabu and Remigius Ugwu, who were 6th, 7th and 8th prosecution witnesses respectively and were led in evidence by Sylvanus Tahir, the counsel to the anti-graft agency when the matter came up yesterday.
Bello, in his testimony, told the court that sometime between October 2014 and April 2015, he met one Amobi Ogum through his account officer in Zenith Bank, Obinna Amaechi.
According to him, Ogum was the account relationship officer for One Plus.
Bello, who is the managing director of Karahyna Nigeria Limited told the court that he maintains both naira and dollar account, adding that, his first encounter with One Plus was for a transaction of $150,000, in which he gave the bank the dollars (in cash) for it to be transferred to his domiciliary account because the bank did not have dollars in cash to give to customers.
According to him, within the period under reference, there was a total transaction of $6,600,000 into his account from One Plus adding that, at times he used to pay naira into one Kamaludeen Dahiru’s account supplied by Ogum.
Under cross-examination by Azibaola’s counsel, Gordy Uche (SAN), Bello told the court that the entire transaction was based on instruction from Ogum.
“I used to do cash swap in which I pay dollar to naira or sometimes dollar to dollar exchange”, he said.
Copies of the statement volunteered by Bello to EFCC was presented and admitted as exhibits by the trial Judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba.
In her evidence, Onabu, a marketer who works with a subsidiary of Capitalfield Investment & Trust Limited told the court that she had not met the first and second defendants (Azibaola and Stella), but their company had dealings with the third defendant, One Plus, between 2014 and 2015.
Onabu explained that, sometimes in April 2015, one Obinna Amaechi, a banker with Zenith bank informed her of a colleague in Abuja, who had a client with some free funds in dollars for sale and wanted to know if their company would be interested in purchasing it.
The witness, who is the 7th called by the EFCC said she got back to Amaechi, informing him of the readiness of her company (Capitalfield) to purchase $2million and asked if they had it available.
She told the court that Amaechi, through a text message, sent her the account details where he wanted the naira equivalent deposited.
According to her, Capitalfield credited the naira equivalent of N400 million (which at that time was N219.8 to a dollar) to one Dahiru Kamaludeen, while Capitalfield was credited with $2million dollars by One Plus.
Alos testifying, Ugwu, a compliance officer with Zenith bank said he knew the third defendant, One Plus, who had both dollar and naira account in their bank.
He told the court that they received a letter from EFCC between February 2016 and April 2016 requesting for account opening package, statement of account and certificate of identification in respect of Karahyna Nigeria Limited, Reya Telecommunications Nigeria Limited, Capitalfield Investment & Trust Limited and Teledom International Limited in respect of their dollar account including that of Dahiru adding that, “all were provided to the EFCC as requested”.
According to him, “between October 2014 and April 2015, the account of Karahyna Nigera Limited received a total inflow of $6.6million from One Plus Holdngs”.
Documents in support of this claim, Karahyna Nigeria Limited, Reya Telecommunications Nigeria Limited, Capitalfield Investment & Trust Limited, Teledom International Limitedand Kamaludeen Dahiru were admitted in evidence by the court.
Azibaola and his co-defendants are facing trial on a 7-count charge of money laundering, criminal breach of trust and corruption
Justice Dimgba adjourned further trial in the matter till June 20 – 21, 2017.