March 10, 2022

Why EFCC filed charge against me, ex-HoS, Oronsaye tells court

Why EFCC filed charge against me, ex-HoS, Oronsaye tells court

…denies operating 66 illegal bank accounts

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

A former Head of Service of the Federation, Mr. Stephen Oronsaye, on Thursday, opened his defence to the N2billion money laundering charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, preferred against him before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.

Oronsaye, who mounted the witness box and testified before trial Justice Inyang Ekwo, accused the anti-graft agency of deliberately witch-hunting him, following a presentation he made before the National Assembly while he was still in office.

He told the court that he ran into trouble after he defended an Executive Bill on the EFCC, at a point when the Commission itself mounted strong opposition against the said Bill.

According to him, shortly after he returned to his office at the end of his presentation at the NASS, the anti-graft agency, summoned him to its office.

He told the court that upon his arrival at the EFCC office on December 7, 2013, he was confronted with all manners of allegations.

READ ALSO: Alleged N9bn fraud: NANS faults EFCC’s harassment of Makinde

Oronsaye told the court that the EFCC had yet to show him a copy of the petition that led to his trial.

The Defendant, while enumerating some of the services he rendered to the nation, recalled that he had, at a time, headed five special presidential committees.

He insisted that throughout his tenure in office, he neither signed any payment mandate nor had any dealings with the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP.

“Contrary to EFCC allegation against me, only staff of the accountant general of the Federation have power to sign payment mandate”, he added.

While denying the allegation that he had on several occasions, transferred public funds from Union Bank to Unity Bank, the former HoS, also refuted the claim that he operated 66 different bank accounts.

Led in evidence by his lawyer, Mr. Joe Agi, SAN, the Defendant, however, admitted that he was not aware of the number of bank accounts that was operated by the Federal Government since he never served as the Accountant General of the Federation.

He told the court that EFCC conducted a shoddy investigation before the charge was entered against him.

The Defendant further tendered several documents in evidence, among which included a circular on contract threshold that was signed by the then Secretary-General of the Federation, Mr. Yayale Ahmed.

Other documents the Defendant tendered on Thursday, were EFCC’s interim investigation report on alleged conspiracy and diversion of public funds, as well as the judgement that was delivered in the case of the jailed former Pension Reform Task Team, PRTT, Abdulrasheed Maina.

Meanwhile, Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter till May 24 for continuation of defence and cross-examination of the Defendant by the EFCC.

It will be recalled that Justice Ekwo okayed the matter for defence, after the anti-graft agency closed its case having called a total of 21 witnesses that testified before the court.

Oronsaye was arraigned alongside the Managing Director of Fedrick Hamilton Global Services Limited, Mr. Osarenkhoe Afe.

Equally charged before the court by the EFCC included three companies- Cluster Logistic Limited; Kangolo Dynamic Cleaning Limited, and Drew Investment & Construction Company Limited.

It was alleged that the Defendants had between 2010 and 2011, used the firms and diverted public funds through procurement fraud.

Vanguard News Nigeria