To travel abroad for medical check-up, court fixes hearing for April 7
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, told the Federal High Court in Abuja that the former Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Haliru Bello, who was alleged to have illegally received N300 million from the office of the National Security Adviser, NSA, diverted N120 million to his personal use.
Bello is answering to a four-count criminal charge alongside his son, Abba.
The firm allegedly used to perpetuate the fraud, BAM Projects and Properties Limited, was also cited as the third defendant.
EFCC maintained that the fund, which it said was paid into the Sterling bank account of Abba’s company 11 days to the 2015 presidential election, was part of the N30 billion the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki(rtd.), withdrew from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
At the resumed hearing yesterday, the star witness, Mrs. Rouqayya Ibrahim, while being cross-examined by the defence lawyers, Chief Kanu Agabi(SAN), and Mr. Solomon Umoh(SAN), said aside the N300 million that was transferred to the defendants from the NSA’s office, another N300 million was also traced to their accounts.
She told the court that out of the N600 million, the defendants only disbursed N400 million in support of campaign activities of PDP.
The witness said the later N300 million was paid to the defendants through another firm, Jabbama-Ada Global Services Limited.
EFCC told the court: “During the course of investigation, we discovered that on March 18, 2015, disbursements of the funds were made to two companies— Kumugomo Limited received N137 million and North-Pole Limited, a little over N178 million.
“On March 23, 2015, Hijrah Textiles Limited was paid a little over N163 million. On March 26, the first defendant, Abba Bello, who is the owner and sole signatory to the account of Bam Projects & Properties Limited, made a cash withdrawal of N20 million in two tranches of N10 million each.
“On May 28, 2015 Abba Bello made a transfer of N50 million into another of his accounts. In the same month, another transfer of N50 million, in five tranches of N10 million each, was made on the same day to AGIS for the purpose of mass housing development.
“In the same month, another transaction of N2 million was made to Julius Berger Plc for the supply of furniture to Abba Bello’s client.
“Another payment of N5 million, in May 2015, was made to Archiplus Limited, an architectural firm, as part of services the company rendered to Bam Projects & Properties Limited.”
Meanwhile, trial Justice Ahmed Mohammed, yesterday, adjourned further hearing on the matter till April 7, even as he gave Bello the nod to travel abroad for medical check-up.
Bello’s application to travel was not opposed by EFCC’s lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), who only urged the court to put his sureties on the alert with a view to ensuring his return to stand trial.
The offence the defendants allegedly committed, which attracts a maximum of 14 years imprisonment, was said to be contrary to Sections 15(2) (d), 17(a), and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011, as amended in 2012, and punishable under Section (15) (3) of the same Act.