While a principal witness on the trial of former aviation minister insists that a fake committee approves contracts of billions of Naira, another witness in another case confesses that a former governor who is a Reverend Father collected over N100mn in cash to host former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
A principal prosecution witness, Reuben Omosigho in the on-going trial of former Aviation minister, Prof Babalola Borishade and four others on Wednesday September 22, 2010 insisted that a former Personal Assistant to the ex-minister, Mr T.A Dairo made oral and written confessions during his interrogation that the committee that approved the N5.6 billion aviation contract was a phantom one.
The former minister is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a 15 count amended charge along with Rowland Iyayi, T. A. Dairo, George Eider and Avsatel Communications Limited before Justice Umar Sadiq of the FCT high court, Maitama Abuja.
At the resumed hearing, the principal prosecution witness, Omosigho, stressed that in the course of his interview with third accused person, T.A. Dairo, voluntarily wrote in his statement that he served as the secretary to the phantom committee that awarded the N5.6 billion aviation contract on the instructions of Prof Borisade.
He told the court that the third accused person was not under any duress when he was writing his statement as claimed by the Counsel to the 3rd accused Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN.
In another case, a Permanent Secretary in the Taraba state government house, Mr Denis Orkuma Nev who is also a prosecution witness in the on-going trial of former governor of the state, Rev Jolly Nyame on Monday September 27th, 2010 insisted he gave the ex-governor N101 million cash after withdrawing the money from the state accounts on the instructions of Nyame.
Ex-governor Nyame, is facing a 41 count charge of money laundering, criminal breach of trust and gratification, totaling one billion, three hundred and sixty million naira (N1, 360,000,000)before Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the FCT high court, Gudu Abuja.
Nev had at the last hearing of the case in June while being led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs told Justice Banjoko how the former governor unilaterally raised and approved the sum of One Hundred and One million naira (N101,000,000), for the visit of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to the state, without following normal processes of disbursing funds.
He had also said that memos for the amount were raised on a single day, 11th April, 2007, and payment vouchers approved at the government house rather than the ministry of finance.
Besides, Nev also disclosed how over Two hundred Million Naira (N200, 000, 000) was withdrawn by some officials of both the Taraba state government house, specifically, the cashier, Joel Andrew and the then Taraba State liaison officer, in Abuja for the governor’s private use.
When the matter resumed for the cross examination of the prosecution witness 4, Mr Nev by the defence counsel, O. Makanjoula, he insisted that the former governor directed him to raise the N101 million which he did and brought to him cash on April 11th 2007, a day before the visit of former President Obasanjo.
The defense Counsel also tried establishing the number of offices that PW4 will have to pass through before getting to the governor’s office and the likely number of people he must see before getting, the witness told the court that he didn’t need any clearance to see the Governor being the Permanent Secretary Administration in the govt house, and that through the various offices leading to the Governor’s Office, only the last which is the 4th has a constant presence of the Governor’s Orderly.
Justice Banjoko has however adjourned the matter to Tuesday 28th September 2010 for further cross examination.