The trial of a former governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, his son, Abdul-Aziz Nyako, Abubakar Aliyu, and Zulkifik Abba before Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court, Abuja got under way on Monday with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, presenting its first witness.
They are facing a 37-count charge bordering on criminal conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office and money laundering to the tune of N29 billion.
Mr. Nyako and his co-defendants are alleged to have used five companies – Blue Opal Nigeria limited, Serore Farms & Extension Limited, Pagoda Fortunes Limited, Towers Assets Management Limited and Crust Energy Limited to commit the fraud.
At the resumed hearing, the prosecution witness, Ugochukwu Dumukwu, branch head of the FBN Merchant Bank, Maitama, Abuja, told the court that he did not know the source of the various sums of money credited into the accounts of Tower Asset Management Limited, domiciled with the bank.
Under cross-examination by prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, he told the court that the EFCC contacted the bank in respect of investigations into transactions involving Blue Ribbon Multilinks Nigeria Ltd and Tower Asset Management Nigeria Ltd.
“We were requested to provide incorporation documents such as form CO7, CO2, SCUML registration documents for Blue Ribbon Multilinks Ltd, also proof of identity for the signatories to the accounts,” he said.
He noted that the EFCC also requested documents, which included account opening forms for the two companies, transaction history for both companies, also letters of instruction from the customers, as well as copies of cheques issued to the customer.
The documents, which were presented to the court by Mr. Jacobs, were identified by the witness.
However, Ibrahim Isiyaku, counsel to Zulkifikk Abba and Towers Assets, who also held brief for Kanu Agabi, counsel to Mr. Nyako, his son and Serore Farms & Extension Limited, objected to the admissibility of some of the documents, which included the data page of the international passport of Mr. Abba, arguing that it was not certified by the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS.
Counsel to Abubakar Aliyu, Y.C Maikyau, also aligned with Mr. Isiyaku and urged the court to reject the documents in evidence.
Mr. Jacobs, who accepted the objections of the defence counsels, noted that: “I do not want to waste the time of the court arguing on the admissibility or otherwise of the documents in question, and so withdraw them as the identity of the persons involved is not in dispute.”
Justice Abang, thereafter, admitted the other documents in evidence marking them as exhibits A1-A166. The admitted documents, included transfer history detailing the flow of cash into Blue Ribbon Multilinks from Tower Asset Management, letter of instruction from the owners of the account, as well as copies of cheques used as instruments of payment.
According to Mr. Dumukwu, signatories to Blue Ribbon Multilinks included Abubakar Aliyu and Abubakar Y. Abba. He listed its directors to include Nyako Abdulaziz Murtala, Aliyu Abubakar and Yahaya Abubakar Abba. He further noted that signatories to Tower Asset Management included Aliyu Abubakar, J.L. Kogis, while the directors were Mohammed Saheed, Abubakar Yar’Adua, Abubakar Aliyu, Grace Danamadami, Kogis Jonathan, Abduwahab Usman, and Sambo Yahaya.
Justice Abang after accepting the documents in evidence against the defendants thereafter adjourned to November 29 for continuation of trial.