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Two Key Witnesses Die After Giving Evidence Against Ex-Governor In Alleged N29bn Fraud Case

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Two vital prosecution witnesses who gave evidence in the trial of former Adamawa Governor Murtala Nyako have died mysteriously.

Adekunle Odofin, a detective with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, made the startling revelation before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja today.

According to the detective, the two witnesses made “crucial statements” during the investigation into a N29billion fraud case.

Odofin told the court that the two persons were very vital to the prosecution of the case.

Nyako is being prosecuted by the Commission, alongside his son, Senator Abdul-Aziz Nyako, Abubakar Aliyu and Zulkifikk Abba, on a 37-count charge of criminal conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office and money laundering to the tune of N29billion.

Five companies that allegedly served as conduit pipes for the illegal diversion of the funds – Blue Opal Limited, Sebore Farms & Extension Limited, Pagoda Fortunes Limited, Tower Assets Management Limited and Crust Energy Limited, were equally charged before the court as the 5th to 9th defendants.

Testifying as the twentieth prosecution witness, Odofin, who started his testimony on June 23, 2018 and tendered documents which were admitted in evidence, told the court on November 26, 2018, that one Mohammad Maj Iro, who was the General Manager, Zenith Bank Plc, the Regional Manager in charge of North-East, and the Account Officer of Adamawa State 200 accounts, domiciled in Zenith bank, died after making “crucial statements”, at the time of filing the case in the court.

While being led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, on November 27, 2018, the detective told the court that the Commission also extended invitation to one Dalhatu Abdulmalik, who was the cousin to Nyako.

The commission invited the Director of Ameak Investment Limited, Kirkelly Investment Limited and Pilkola Engineering Limited, who also died after giving his statement.

Odofin said Mohammad Major Iro pulled out over N800million from the Adamawa State account, and credited it to Crust Energy Limited, the 9th defendant in the case, taking orders from Nyako.

Odofin explained that the pattern of two accounts belonging to the State (Special Service Department, SSD, and Secretary to the State Government, SSG) drew the attention of the EFCC.

According to him, “the behaviour of these accounts, showed how money was being withdrawn in multiples of Ten Million Naira on different dates, running into billions of naira, by late Mohammad Maj Iro”.

“The question is, why did Maj Iro withdraw money from Adamawa State account, without being a staff of the state government?

Investigations revealed that memos were originated from permanent secretaries of the SSD, Mohammed Ibrahim Jidado and that of the SSG, Emmanuel Ibrahim.

“Having generated these memos, same were forwarded to SSG for transmission to the number one citizen of the State, the governor. Upon the approval of these memos, same came back to the SSG”.

He explained that vouchers were raised after the approval of the memos, in the name of the Permanent Secretary, the Accountant, and cashier as the same and now taken to Maj Iro.

“Having received these cheques, Maj Iro, being a seasoned banker, pulled out these monies from the two accounts ( SSD and SSG) and he starts crediting various individuals and corporate accounts, most especially, without the knowledge of the account owners”, the witness added.

“Maj Iro credited Zenith Bank accounts of the 5th to the 9th defendants (Blue Opal Limited, Sebore Farms & Extension Limited, Pagoda Fortunes Limited, Tower Assets Management Limited and Crust Energy Limited), out of the money he pulled out from Adamawa State account. Part of the money Maj Iro transferred to Tower Asset Management Limited, the sum of N678,000,000 (Six Hundred And Seventy-Eight Million Naira) was transferred to Crust Energy on different dates.

“Maj Iro also transferred N160, 000,000 out of the money he pulled out from Adamawa State account to a company called Maxion Option Limited. Maxion Option Limited transferred same to Crust Energy Limited zenith bank account”.

The witness further told the court how Maj Iro disbursed millions of naira to the companies used to launder state funds.

“Maj Iro also transferred sums of money on different dates to Sabore Farms Limited. Out of the money transferred to the company by Maj Iro, the sum of N20million was transferred to Mainstream Energy Limited. Another N20million was transferred from same Sabore Farms to one Sanni Hello of Mainstream Energy Limited. Another N10million was transferred to Crust Energy Limited”, Odofin said.

Statements made by Maj Iro at the Commission were tendered and admitted in evidence by the court.

According to the court, “Statements made by Maj Iro on June 21, 2014; June 24, 2014; July 2, 2014; July 10, 2014; July 15, 2014; July 22, 2014; July 23, 2014; August 29, 2014 and October 22, 2014 admitted in evidence as LL40-1 to Ll40-9, respectively”. Also, statements made by Dalhatu Abdulmalik were tendered and admitted in evidence.

The matter was thereafter adjourned to November 29, 2018, for the continuation of trial. (NAN)

BIG STORY

Kano Drama! Court Restrains Ganduje, Anti Corruption Commission From Taking Action Against Emir Sanusi

Peter Okunoren

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A Federal High Court sitting in Kano on Tuesday granted an order restraining Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje and the State Public Complaints and Anti Corruption Commission from acting on the preliminary report on alleged misappropriation of N3.4 billion by the Kano Emirate Council.

The order followed a suit filed on June 7, by Muhammad Mannir-Sanusi, Dan Buran Kano, seeking an order to restrain Ganduje, the Commission and the state Attorney General or their agents from acting on the preliminary report of the investigation.

Justice Obiara A. Egwuatu, issued the restraining order and directed that the respondents be served through a publication in the Daily Trust newspaper and the Attorney General of the state.

He adjourned the case to June 28, for hearing of the motion on notice.

The anti-corruption commission had on June 14, forwarded the preliminary report of the investigation in which it indicated the Kano Emirate Council, to the Secretary to the State Government for appropriate action by the state government.

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BREAKING: Thugs Beat Up Oshiomhole, 14 Other Edo Lawmakers-Elect

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Suspected thugs have beaten up Seidu Oshiomhole, the younger brother of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress and lawmaker-elect (Etsako West 11) of the Edo State House of Assembly.

The attack on Oshiomhole and 14 other lawmakers of the Edo State House of Assembly is the latest in the crisis between the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, and the National Chairman of the APC.

According to Tribune Online, the 15 lawmakers, who were absent at midnight on Monday when the other nine members of the Assembly were inaugurated, were attacked at a hotel in downtown Benin, the Edo State capital, where they were having a meeting.

Some of them were said to have sustained serious injuries.

A former Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Victor Tiger Edoror, was said to have led his colleagues to the police headquarters in Benin to report the assault.

The nine members who met to inaugurate the Assembly elected Frank Okiye (Esan North East 1) as the Speaker.

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Best Alcohol Unveils New Premium Drink, Best Honey Cream

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A new flavour from the stables of Nigerbev Limited, makers of Best alcoholic beverage, has been unveiled in Nigeria to the delight of their teeming alcoholic beverage lovers.

Best alcohol premium beverage aims to satisfy the taste buds of our esteemed customers and consistent with our pledge to provide Best products and exciting choices at all times, we have recently introduced a new variant called Best Honey cream made from soothing and comforting honey flavor which can be served chilled or with ice.

The product is now available in trade channels (open markets, supermarkets, neighborhood stores, bars, and restaurants)

Best Honey cream is Thick… Rich… Creamy…

Available in 750ml and 200ml #simplythebest

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