How Suspects Milked Kwara Bursary without Beneficiaries- EFCC Witness
Trial in the alleged mismanagement of scholarship funds to the tune of N100million involving the immediate past chairperson of Kwara State Scholarship Board, Hajia Fatimoh Yusuf and two other principal officers of the Board resumed on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 with a prosecution witness, Lawal Abdulwahab, telling Justice Sikiru Oyinloye of the Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin that, he never saw the list of the beneficiaries of the 2018 bursary allowances.
The Ilorin Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is prosecuting Hajia Yusuf, alongside the Executive Secretary of the Board, Fatai Lamidi and its Accountant, Ajewole Stephen, on a seven count charge bordering on stealing and fraudulent diversion of public funds.
The three officers of the Board allegedly diverted state funds to the tune of N100million earmarked by government of the Kwara State in 2017 and 2018 for payment of bursary allowances to students of the state in various tertiary institutions.
Testifying, Abdulwahab stated that his bank was commissioned to be in charge of payment of the allowances to respective beneficiaries of the scheme, but was never provided with the list.
Abdulwahab, who was the Head of Operations in a new generation bank testified as PW 8.
He said: “My Lord, sometime in 2018, the management of the Scholarship Board approached our bank for cheque discounting in the payment of bursary allowances to students of Kwara origin studying in various tertiary institutions. The bank managing director and I held a meeting with the management of Scholarship Board where we agreed to charge the sum of N100 (one hundred naira) from each of the cheque as interest. We were to pay cash of N5, 000 (five thousand naira only) to ten thousand Students.
The PW8 told the court that officials of the bank followed personnel of the Board to Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso, but had what he described as ‘terrible experience’.
According to him, the place was rowdy and insecure. Abdulwahab stated that a report of what happened was forwarded to the bank following which the bank threatened to back out, a decision he said led to another arrangement of providing cash without the officials of the bank following them to field.
Testifying further, the witness narrated how the bank provided cash of N5, 000 to ten thousand students and how the Scholarship Board’s management issued them cheque in return. He told the court that the cheques were not forged.
Under cross-examination, Abdulwahab insisted that he neither sighted the list of beneficiaries at the Office of the Kwara State Scholarship Board nor at the EFCC where he was invited to give statement on the matter.
The witness stated that all that transpired between his bank and the management of the Kwara State Scholarship Board were normal banking standards, which followed the due process.
The prosecution witness further stressed the fact that his bank’s cash officials no longer followed personnel of the Scholarship Board to the field after that experience at LAUTECH, for security reasons.
After his testimonies, Justice Oyinloye discharged the witness and adjourned till February 17, 2021 for further hearing.
Head, Media & Publicity
26 January, 2021
EFCC Presents More Witnesses Against Ex-minister, Turaki
Two witnesses of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 testified in the ongoing trial of Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, a former Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, his special assistant and two companies.
The witnesses, Erijitonah Good, a customer service manager at First City Monument Bank and Umar Abba Tilde, a compliance officer from Zenith Bank testified as PW 10 and P11 respectively.
Led in evidence by Farouk Abdullah, Good who brought documents relating to inflows and expenditure pertaining to some accounts told the court that “sometime in November 2019 we got a mail from EFCC requesting for account opening package , account statement of some customers in the bank which we complied with and forwarded to the EFCC”.
The document entitled ‘re-investigation activities’ alongside the account opening package and account statement were tendered and admitted in evidence.
During cross examination, Good told the court that he does not know the source or purpose of payment in the account.
The second witness Tilde , in his testimony, disclosed that “sometimes last year, there was a letter from EFCC requesting for some documents regarding some of our customers and as custodian of the documents, we complied with and submitted account opening package of one Abdullahi Bagudu , account statements, and BVN links to the EFCC”
The documents were also tendered and admitted as exhibits.
The trial has been adjourned to January 27 2021 for continuation of trial.
Turaki, his special assistant Sampson Okpetu and two companies: Samtee Essentials Limited and Pasco Investment Limited in 2020 are standing trial before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court Abuja on a 16 count charge of fraud to the tune of N714, 670, 014.87 (Seven Hundred and Fourteen Million Six Hundred and Seventy Thousand and Fourteen Naira)
Head, Media & Publicity
26 January, 2021