ByÂ Ise-Oluwa Ige
The prosecution of the Chairman of Police Equipment Foundation (PEF), Chief Kenny Martins, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for allegedly defrauding the Federal Government of N50 billion has taken a new twist.
The witness of the anti-graft agency, Mr. Abdulakarim Abdullahi, who took to the witness box to give evidence in the matter, told the high court that the alleged N50bn stolen by Martins could not be traced to the bank account of PEF as alleged.
Abdullahi is an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) and one of EFCCâ€™s investigators who probed the allegation against Martins.
He informed the Abuja High Court hearing the case that EFCCâ€™s investigation revealed that less than N10bn was raised as donations as against the N50bn contained in the two petitions against PEF.
The witness who claimed to be one of EFCC’s detectives that investigated petitions against Martins, his Deputy, Ibrahim Dumuje and one Yaro Gella said the arrest of the accused persons was based on a petition from the Sultan of Sokoto and another from a body known as Integrity Group.
Under cross-examination by Chief Johny Ucheaga, counsel to the accused persons, the police officer stunned the court when he admitted that he was not aware whether EFCC took statements from the Sultan of Sokoto as a petitioner or from anybody in the Integrity Group before charging the case to court.
The witness, who claimed to have obtained most of the statements of the accused persons, admitted that EFCC did not receive petitions from either the Federal Government, the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) whose monies Martins was said to have tampered with, Police or Ministry of Police Affairs against the accused persons before commencing investigation.
He also admitted that he did not receive petition from the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) and the Federal Ministry of Finance against PEF or any of its directors before concluding investigation and charging the accused persons to court.
Abdullahi, who was earlier led in evidence by EFCC’s lawyer, Mr. Chile Okoroma, said documents at EFCCâ€™s disposal indicated that of the donations received by PEF, it paid N2.5bn to Globe Motors and another N1.5bn to Coscharis Motors for vehicles claimed to have been purchased by the accused persons for police.
He also told Justice Abubakar Talba that the foundation paid N200m to Urban Shelter Company for some houses allegedly bought for Police and another N367m to Mepco for fixing of security and communication gadgets to vehicles allegedly donated to police and other security agencies from the donation of ALGON.
Another prosecution witness and former Secretary General of ALGON, Dr. Chris Agbobu in his own evidence told the High Court that the 774 local government councils in the country donated over N7billion to PEF upon a request from the body to enable it purchase equipment for police.
The two-time Minister of State under former President Olusegun Obasanjo however said that ALGON was not responsible for monitoring of how the money was spent.
The ex-minister also explained that the local governments have not made any complaint against PEF or its Directors on how the disbursement of the donation was made.
The witness told Justice Talba under cross examination that he had known Chief Kenny Martins for over 30 years as a businessman.
Meanwhile the Abuja High Court has adjourned further hearing in the case till October 29, 2009.