The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has alleged that a sum of N1.5 billion from the imprest account of the Ministry of External Affairs with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), was used to fund the political campaign of former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.
An investigator with the EFCC, Shuaibu Shehu, told the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Monday that two former ministers and some others, had transferred the sum to the former president.
Shehu is the third prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of former Minister of Finance, Mrs Nenadi Usman, former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, Danjuma Yusuf and a company, Joint Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited on allegations of laundering N4.6bn.
He told Justice Rilwan Aikawa that he became familiar with the charge against the defendants in February 2016, when a petition over the alleged fraudulent transfer from the ministry’s account was assigned to his team to investigate.
Mr Shehu said the EFCC’s investigation linked the former minister, Mrs Nenadi Usman and the third defendant Danjuma Yusuf to the account of Joint Trust Dimensions Ltd, where the money was allegedly transferred to.
The witness added that further investigations also revealed that the funds were then moved from the company’s account to fund former President Jonathan’s political campaign in 2015.
He listed beneficiaries of the funds to include Ms Jumoke Akinjide and Achike Udenwa.
The testimony of the witness was, however, cut short, when the defence team raised objections to his narration on details of how the funds in the company’s account were disbursed by the defendants.
The defendants through their lawyers argued that the issue of disbursement of funds was not part of the charge preferred against them and the witness could not give evidence on same.
They, therefore, asked the court to expunge evidence given on the issue.
Thereafter, Justice Aikawa, fixed February 20 and 21 to rule on the objection raised by the defence team.
On the next adjourned date, the court will also hear an application filed by Mrs Nenadi Usman, seeking permission to go away to take care of her health.
The defendants are being arraigned on 17 charges of alleged N4.6 billion fraud.
They have, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In counts one to seven, they were alleged to have unlawfully retained over N3.8bn which they reasonably ought to have known, formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of stealing and corruption.
In counts eight to 14, the accused were alleged to have unlawfully used over N970 million which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of an unlawful act of corruption.
Meanwhile, in counts 15 to17, Fani-Kayode and one Olubode Oke who is said to be at large, were alleged to have made cash payments of about N30 million, in excess of the amount allowed by law, without going through a financial institution.
Fani-Kayode was also alleged to have made payments to one Paste Poster Co (PPC) of No 125 Lewis St., Lagos.
All offences were said to have contravened the provisions of sections 15 (3) (4), 16 (2) (b), and 16 (5) of the Money laundering (prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.