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Alleged N702m fraud: EFCC closes case against Okupe

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

ABUJA – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, closed its case on the 59-count charge it preferred against the former Senior Special Assistant to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on Media, Doyin Okupe.

Doyin Okupe

The defendant is facing charges bordering on money laundering and his alleged involvement in the criminal diversion of funds to the tune of N702million.

The anti-graft agency closed its case after it called its sixth witnesses that testified before trial Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

At the resumed proceeding, the prosecution counsel, Mr. Ibrahim Audu, presented his sixth witness, Shuaibu Salisu, who was a former Director Administration and Finance in the Office of National Security Adviser, ONSA.

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According to a statement that was signed by the Acting Head, Media & Publicity at the EFCC, Mr. Tony Orilade, the P-W6, who presently works with the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, in his Evidence-in-Chief, told the court that “Sometime in 2012, Chief Okupe came to the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, and after their discussion, I was directed to make a payment of N50 million (Fifty Million Naira) to him.”

He said: “Okupe provided his account details, where I paid the amount into the bank account of Value Trust Investment.”

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EFCC stated that Salisu added that he was further directed by the ONSA to be paying N10m monthly to Okupe for a period of over two years, which he said was reduced to a monthly N5m towards the end of 2014 due to paucity of funds.

He said he made other payments to Okupe as directed, saying that at a point he was instructed to pay the defendant N6m.

Salisu further revealed that sometime in 2014, the then National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki directed that he paid the sum of N35m to an account provided by Okupe and that he can also recall paying N50m in cash to Okupe on Dasuki’s directive.

He told the court that he only obeyed directives in all the payments he made to Okupe and didn’t know what the monies were meant for.

When asked if there were evidences of the payments, the witness told the court that he usually provided Okupe with the payment vouchers, which he usually signed.

When also asked if all the payments were captured in payment vouchers, Salisu replied in the negative.

Speaking under cross-examination by Okupe’s counsel, Akinlabi Akinbade, the witness disclosed that Okupe was not the only person that received payments from ONSA. “Anybody that the NSA directs that payment be made to, we make payment,” he said.

Under same cross-examination, the witness said he had no reason to believe that the payments he made were from an illegal source. “Why would I assume it was illegal? I was only directed to make payments,” disclosing further that some of the payment instructions he carried out while working in the ONSA came verbally while some others came written, but that in the case of the payments to Okupe, all the instructions, he said were verbal.

The matter was adjourned to June 26, for the defence to open its case.

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