EFCC Arraigns Civil Servant for Alleged N1b Fraud
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday, November 5, 2020, arraigned the chairman of the Federal Civil Service Staff with Disabilities’ Cooperative Society, Alhaji Iliasu Abdulrauf, for alleged N1, 126,156,000.00 (One Billion, One Hundred and Twenty-six Million, One Hundred and Fifty-six Thousand Naira) fraud.
Abdulrauf was docked before Justice S.C Oriji of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Apo, Abuja, on a six-count charge of breach of trust.
Count one of the charges read: “That you Alhaji Iliasu Abdulrauf being the Chairman Federal Civil Service Staff with Disabilities Cooperative Society, sometimes between November 2017 to February, 2018, in Abuja within the Abuja Judicial Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, with intent to defraud, obtained the gross sum of N508, 528,000 (Five Hundred and Eight Million, Five Hundred and Twenty-eight Thousand Naira) only, via your personal account No. 2076821282, domiciled with UBA and World Trade Multipurpose Cooperative Society’s account No. 1012195580, domiciled with UBA, from the managing Director, Wanori Investment and Properties Ltd under the false pretence of awarding contracts to establish a Rehabilitation Centre for Persons With Disabilities, that the said MD of Wanori Investment and Properties Ltd was deceived to pay for corporate social responsibility and insurance bond to enable his company access mobilisation for the contract. These representations you knew to be false and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1) (b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.”
He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, prompting prosecution counsel, Steve Oduase, to ask the court for a trial date and prayed that he be remanded in prison custody, while the defence counsel pleaded with the court to grant him bail.
Justice Oriji admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N20 million with two sureties, one of which must be a Grade Level 14 civil servant in the Federal Civil Service while the other must be a responsible Nigerian citizen. The two sureties, the judge stated, shall be resident in FCT, Abuja with their residential addresses verified by the court registrar and the prosecuting counsel, adding that the defendant shall not travel out of the country without the permission of the court.
In the event of the defendant being unable to satisfy the bail conditions, he shall be remanded in EFCC custody. The matter was adjourned till December 15, 2020 and January 25, 2021, for the commencement of trial.
Head, Media & Publicity
5 November, 2020
Witness Narrates How Jang Allegedly Diverted Plateau’s N2bn MSME Fund to 19 Accounts in 5 Days
The trial of former Plateau State governor, Senator Jonah David Jang and a former cashier in the Office of the Secretary to the State Government (OSSG), Yusuf Pam before Justice C. L. Dabup of Plateau State High Court, Jos continued on Thursday, November 5, 2020 with the testimony of prosecuting witness two (PW2), Uchenna Innocent Igwe.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC is prosecuting the duo for alleged criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of Plateau State funds to the tune of N6.3 billion.
Led in evidence by prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacob SAN, Igwe, who was a senior manager and head, Jos branch of Zenith Bank from 2014 to 2015 narrated how N2 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSME), granted by the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) for provision of affordable credit to participants was diverted.
“My lord we have the Plateau State Project One Account and Plateau State Small and Medium Enterprises Development (PALSMEDEN) account. An inflow of N2 billion from Central Bank of Nigeria came into the Plateau State Project One Account and the inflow was for Small Scale and Medium Enterprises and immediately I saw the inflow in the Project One Account, I notified the commissioner of Finance and the state’s accountant-general that there was an inflow of N2 billion into the Project Account One, instead of the PALSMEDEN account. I notified them because they are the accounting officers of the state.
“The PALSMEDEN account was supposed to house the money for the Small Scale and Medium Enterprises because that was the essence of the account, and was supposed to be disbursed in due course to the micro finance banks, and then to the end users.
“The moment I notified them that the money was sent into the wrong account, they ordered us to transfer the money to the PALSMEDEN account. Immediately I got the instruction, we transferred the money to the PALSMEDEN account on March 20, 2015,” the witness said.
A twist, however, came on March 24, 2015, when the bank received a counter instruction to transfer the money back to Project One Account, which is the wrong account for the fund. And against what the money was meant for, Igwe disclosed that on March 25, 2015, the bank was asked to transfer N900,000 (Nine Hundred Thousand Naira) to the Ministry of Information, N50 million to Government House Administrator, N150 million to OSSG’s Cabinet Office, another N150 million to OSSG’s office.
He further disclosed that on the same date, the bank was instructed to transfer N400,000 (Four Hundred Thousand Naira) to Plateau State Fire Service, additional N2 million to OSSG Cabinet Office, N3 million to OSSG Cabinet Office, N5 million to Government House Administrator, N8.3 million to Government House Administrator, N15 million to OSSG Cabinet Office, another N15 million to OSSG Cabinet Office, N26,250,000 (Twenty-six Million, Twenty-five Thousand) to the SSG account, N11 million to OSSG Cabinet Office and N609 million to Plateau State Government Salary Account.
The alleged diversions and transfers continued in the month of April. “My lord on April 1, 2015 we transferred N609 million to Project One Account from Plateau State Government Salary Account. On April 2, there was a transfer of N150 million to OSSG Project Office Account, and April 7, there was another transfer of N150 million to OSSG Office. On April 8, we again transferred N150 million to OSSG Cabinet Office and N11,474,240.00 (Eleven Million, Four Hundred and Seventy-four Thousand, Two Hundred and Forty Naira) to Operation Rainbow and another N9 million to same Operation Rainbow”.
After a cross-examination of the witness, Jang’s counsel, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, applied that his client be granted leave to travel to United Arab Emirate for medical treatment, promising that he will be back before the next adjourned date.
Justice Dabup granted the prayer and adjourned the matter till February 16, 17 and 18, 2021 for continuation of trial.
It could be recalled that the prosecution on Wednesday, November 4, 2020, presented the first witness (PW1), Mr. Olayetan Mudashir Adeola, a retired director in Development and Finance Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), who in his testimony informed the court that Jang as governor of Plateau State insisted that the N2 billion MSME fund be paid into “Project One Account,” which was not meant for the fund.
According to Adeola, “In August 2014 we received a notice of interest from the Plateau State government for their participation in MSMEs. In addition to that, the state government submitted Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO) equivalent to the amount of N2 billion, and the interest was two per cent.
“When we received the account, we observed it was not the account that was initially created for the disbursement, so we requested for another account, for which they sent two accounts that were not also the accounts for the purpose. It is after receiving these three accounts, that the then state governor, Jang insisted that we should pay the money into “Project One Account.”
Adeola further stated that after getting all the documents and reviewing them, approval was secured for the disbursement of the funds to the state government since the state had met the requirements for disbursement. The disbursement, he said, was made on March 17, 2015.
According to him, “When the disbursement was made to the state government, we observed that the money was not disbursed to the end users (MSMEs), and we indicated that the non-disbursement of the fund to the end users contravened the guidelines.”
Jang and Pam were first arraigned in June 2018, on 17-count charges bordering on misappropriation of funds, criminal breach of trust and taking corrupt advantages to the tune of N30,236,024,219.88 (Thirty Billion, Two Hundred and Thirty-Six Million, Twenty-Four Thousand, Two Hundred and Nineteen Naira, Eighty-Eight kobo), and re-arraigned in February this year, following the re-assignment of the case to Justice Dabup by the state’s chief judge, Justice Yakubu Dakwak after the initial trial judge, Justice Daniel Longji, on his last day on the bench (December 29, 2019), dismissed the defendants’ no-case-submission, and held that they have a case to answer.
Head, Media & Publicity
5 November, 2020