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Jonathan’s cousin’s trial: I’ve never met defendants —Witness

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By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

ABUJA—Trial of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s cousin, Mr. Robert Azibaola and his wife, Stella, resumed before a Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, with a prosecution witness insisting he has never met the defendants before.

The witness, Mr. Emmanuel Ekwuen, who was led in evidence by counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, identified himself before the court as the Managing Director of Teledom International Limited.

He testified before trial Justice Nnamdi Dimgba as the ninth prosecution witness, PW-9.

Asked by the prosecution counsel if he knew Azibaola, his wife or their company, Oneplus Holdings Limited, the witness said: “My lord, I do not know anyone of them. And I have never had any foreign exchange transaction with the defendants.”

He told the court that his firm, Teledom, had on December 17, 2014, received $330,000 into its Zenith Bank account from Axxent  Consulting.

He said that Axxent Consulting was a forex dealer that represented the interest of his firm in Abuja.

According to the witness, “Axxent got a contract from the National Assembly to supply units of Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System, VACIS.   Thereafter, Axxent Consulting sourced for dollars and paid into Teledon’s account.”

I do not know the Naira equivalent of the dollar.

“However, from the nature of our business, it was not strange to me for us to do foreign exchange transaction. We source and acquire dollars to buy goods,” he added.

Jonathan’s cousin and his wife are answering to a nine-count charge bordering on alleged $40million contract scam.

Specifically, EFCC, in the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/113/2016, alleged that the defendants received a $40million contract from the detained former National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki (retd).

It will be recalled that Azibaola was arrested on March 23, 2016, and subsequently arraigned before the high court after he had spent 90 days in EFCC custody.

The anti-graft agency has so far called six witnesses who have all denied knowing the defendants or having anything to do with their company, Oneplus Holdings Nigeria Ltd.

The defendants were previously facing seven-count charge before it was amended to include two additional counts.

In the amended charge, EFCC, added the names of Capital Field Investment & Trust Limited and Teledom International Limited as firms it said Oneplus transferred forex that were allegedly laundered by Azibaola and wife.

Justice Dimgba had in a ruling on June 8, 2016, granted the defendants bail to the tune of N1billion.

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