We Supplied Obiano Cash From State’s Security Votes Witnesses 

We Supplied Obiano Cash From State’s Security Votes – Witnesses 

4 weeks ago
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Two prosecution witnesses have testified before the Federal High Court, Abuja, about how they supplied former governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, cash in both naira and dollars through his proxies.

The trial of Obiano over alleged graft which started immediately after he left office in March 2022, continued on Wednesday, 26 June 2024 with Justice Inyang Ekwo as the presiding judge.

Ugochukwu Chinedu, Prosecution Witness (PW3), and a former banker between November 2, 2008 to 26 March 2023, who was the account manager of the Anambra State Government accounts, including the state’s Security Vote account,  told the court that he usually delivered raw cash in both Naira and US dollars to Obiano in line with the instructions given to him by Willie Nwokoye and Theophilus Meize, Obiano’s former principal secretary and accountant at the state Government’s  House, respectively, who were signatories to the Security Votes account.

“I usually processed transactions with the principal secretary, either daily or weekly, mostly using the instruments of cheques. I will go to his office on Fridays to balance the account. All the transactions I carried out were usually based on the instructions given to him by the account holders,” he said.

Further in his testimony, the PW3 stated that “sometimes around July 2021, I was called by the compliance officer that they received an invitation from EFCC regarding an ongoing investigation into the administration of the Anambra State Government Security Votes’ account. In the course of the investigation,  I was asked to provide details into some other accounts that I managed which included Udo Ventures Limited, Moment of Peace Limited, Easy Diamond Integrated Links Limited,  C.I. Patty Ventures Nigeria Limited, Xpressive Consult Nig. Limited, among others.”

Documents relating to those accounts were marked PW3 A1 to A215, tendered and admitted in evidence.

READ ALSO: EFCC Kicks As Court Orders Release Of Obiano’s Passport

In the same vein, Hayatu Hassan, a businessman and Prosecution Witness 4, (PW4), who operates five Bureau de Change companies, namely: Seltris BDC Limited, Seltris Limited, Commaught International Services Limited, Holdall Limited, and Norricelea Limited disclosed that he made a total sum of N222,371,000 (Two Hundred and Twenty-two Million, Three Hundred and Seventy-one Thousand) available in dollar equivalent to the Government of Anambra State under Obiano.

“Sometimes last year, I was invited by the EFCC Abuja Office and I was asked if I had any business with the Anambra State Government and I said No. Then, the person interviewing me showed me that my company Commaught International Services Limited has done some transactions with the state government. He showed me some payments in seven transactions that were done in my Commaught account. Two different transactions were in February 2018, about N172, 371,000 (One Hundred and Seventy-two Million, Three Hundred and Seventy-one Naira)  and it was for $465,000 (Four Hundred and Sixty-five Thousand US Dollars).   The other one was in March 2018 for N50 million and it was for $135,000 (One Hundred and Thirty-five US Dollars), making a total of $600,000 (Six Hundred Thousand US Dollars) and naira equivalent of N222, 371,000.

“ I sold the dollars to Ayuba Tanko, another BDC operator.  As soon as the transaction was done, I handed over the dollars to Ayuba Tanko. I didn’t know it was from the Anambra State Government,” he said.

In an earlier trial on Tuesday, 25 June, two prosecution Witnesses, Tochukwu Aloysius Nnadi (PW1) and Mrs Chinwe Patricia Ebunam (PW2) had told Justice Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja that funds in the state’s security votes’ account were diverted to multiple private entities under the former governor’s watch.

According to a statement by EFCC’s spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, Nnadi, a bank manager in Awka, Anambra State since June 2011 revealed that documents originating from his bank clearly showed that Easy Diamond Integrated Links, C.I Patty Ventures Nigeria Limited, Xpressive Consult Nig. Limited, among others were beneficiaries of the outflows from the state’s security votes’ account under Obiano.

Led in evidence by prosecution counsel Sylvanus Tahir SAN,  the witness stated that the Anambra State Government under Obiano had several accounts with the bank that included: Statutory Revenue Account, Value Added Account, Consolidated Internal Generated Revenue Account, Security Votes Account and others.

According to him, “the mandate of the Security Votes Account was operated by the then Principal Secretary to the governor, Mr Willie Nwokoye and the Accountant at the government house,  Theophilus Meize.  The accounts are funded weekly from various accounts, especially from the Consolidated Internal Revenue account in which payments are usually made weekly based on the advice from the operators of the account to various entities, be it individual or corporate entities which I cannot mention here because the names are many but I recall that I made a statement in the Commission where I listed some of those names there.”

The witness recalled that he submitted statements of account, certified true copies to the statements of account, certificate of identification and account opening packages to the Commission. The documents marked PW A1 to PW A794 and B1 to B432 were tendered by prosecution counsel and admitted in evidence by the court.

Similarly, the Second Prosecution Witness (PW2), Ebunam, an Onitsha-based businesswoman in her testimony disclosed that the sum of N156,800,000 (One Hundred and Fifty-six Million, Eight Hundred Thousand Naira) was strangely wired to her account in 2022 from Anambra State Government`s Account even as she executed no contract for the government.

According to her, “Sometime around 20th May 2022, I received a call from EFCC that they needed me in their office, regarding my company C.I Patty Ventures, about some money that passed through my account, which I told them I don’t know anything about the money that passed through my account. All I knew was that I called my bank account officer, Ugochukwu Otibere to upgrade my account or post money into my account to enable me to pass the requirements of the embassy so that I can travel.

He accepted and collected the details of the company’s account and cheque. He promised me that he will upgrade the account. I don’t know anything about the NI56,800 million that passed through my account from the Anambra State Government.”

Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter till October 7, 8, 9 and 10 for continuation of trial.

Obiano is facing prosecution by the EFCC on nine-count charges of embezzlement and money laundering to the tune of N4 billion.


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