Home » News » $40m Fraud: How Azibaola Used Own Company To Launder ONSA Funds – Witness

$40m Fraud: How Azibaola Used Own Company To Launder ONSA Funds – Witness

Robert Azibaola

Robert Azibaola

The trial of a cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Azibaola Robert, his wife, Stella and their company, One Plus Holdings, continued before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 with a prosecution witness, David Nkpe, telling the court how some individuals and companies were alleged to have received payment from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) without contract or approvals.

Nkpe, an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, told the court that in 2015, the Acting Chairman of EFCC received a petition from ONSA which bothered on some individuals and companies that were alleged to have received payment from ONSA without contract or approvals.

While being led in evidence by Sylvanus Tahir, counsel to EFCC, Nkpe told the court that a special team called ‘Special Task Force Team 2’ was set up for special assignment and one of the cases assigned to it was the fall out of Presidential Committee for Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement from 2007 to the time the committee was conveyed.

The witness told the court that their findings revealed that, “one of the companies that received such suspicious payments was ‘Tunji Adeniyi & Co’, which received the sum of N650 million.”

“We investigated the complainant and invited the beneficial owner of the company, Tunji Adeniyi. In the course of interviewing Mr. Adeniyi, he told us that the said payment was in respect of a property located at Plot 2245 Maitama, No 15, Rio Negro Close Maitama, Abuja, which he was managing” Nkpe said.

He went on: “Investigation revealed that the property was bought in the name of One Plus Holdings Limited. Consequently, we invited the directors of One PLus Holdings and it was at that time, I met the defendants for the first time.”

He further narrated how a search warrant was executed in the office of the defendants. According to him, documents recovered included a file with the title One Plus Holdings containing payment instruction to One Plus Holdings’  US Dollar account in Zenith Bank ; two copies of Power of Attorney and 3 copies of Deed of Assignment in relation to Plot 2245 Maitama which all bore the name, Robert Azibaola and one Alhaji Nu’uma Barau Danbatta.

He said the investigating team discovered that those documents were duly executed and signed by the first defendant, Robert Azibaola and one Alhaji Nu’uma Barau Danbatta.

“Also recovered was an acknowledgement of Certificate of Occupancy in relation to the property”, Nkpe added.

When asked what the outcome of their findings was, Nkpe said “our conclusion as investigators is that the property was taken by One Plus Holdings Limited, while payment came from ONSA and we know for sure that One Plus is not part of ONSA”.

Another witness, Emmanuel Effiong Ekuwem, managing director, Teledom International Limited, a broad band infrastructure company, while narrating all he knew about the case said:

“On 17th December, 2014, our company’s FCT dealer who lives and works in Abuja at the instance of the dealer (Axxent Consulting & Infrastructure Limited) requested for our ICT goods and asked its forex seller to deposit and transfer into our domiciliary account in Zenith bank Plc a sum of $330,000. The dealer called our company to confirm receipt of the payment, transferred from its forex provider (One Plus Holdings Limited)”.

When presented with the statement of account which is already in evidence as ASO 14 (1-19) to confirm transaction of December 17, 2014, Ekuwem said that, “there was a valid inflow into their account on the date, which was narrated as transfer in favour of Teledon International Limited from One Plus Holdings Limited”.

He added that it was at the instance of the dealer (Axxent Consulting & Infrastructure Limited) that the transfer was ordered.

Under cross-examination by Chris Uche, SAN, Ekuwem told the court that it was its dealer (Axxent Consulting & Infrastructure Limited) that got a contract from National Assembly to supply one Unit of VACIS (Vehicle & Cargo Inspection System) and they also sourced the foreign exchange and paid into Teledon’s account.

The case has been adjourned to June 23, 2017 for continuation of trial. Azibaola and his co-accused were alleged to have diverted $40million (Forty Million United State Dollars) purportedly meant for 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 to the domiciliary account of their company, One Plus Holdings.

Wilson Uwujaren
Head, Media & Publicity
21 June, 2017

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