EFCC quizzes acting MD of NDDC

Mr Touyo Omatsuli, former executive director of projects, NDDC

The acting managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nelson Braimbraifa, has been quizzed by Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.

Mr Braimbraifa, alongside the NDDC executive director of finance, Chris Amadi, was said to have been a guest of the EFCC’s investigators in Abuja for about two days now.

PREMIUM TIMES could not immediately get details of why the top officials of the NDDC are being interrogated, but a source told this newspaper the matter has to do with “financial impropriety” at the commission.

A top official of the EFCC confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES, Monday evening, that Mr Braimbraifa and Mr Amadi are in Abuja to answer questions from the anti-corruption agency.

The EFCC spokesperson, Tony Orilade, however, said he was unaware of the matter when PREMIUM TIMES contacted him, Monday evening.

In a related development, the corruption trial of Touyo Omatsuli, a former executive director of projects in the NDDC, resumed on Monday at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Mr Omatsuli, alongside other accused persons, is being prosecuted for conspiracy and alleged laundering of N3.645 billion by the EFCC.

The money, the court heard, was part of the statutory contributions from oil companies to the NDDC.

The defendants were first arraigned on November 10, 2018, on a 45-count charge.

A prosecution witness, Ibinabo West, told the court he transferred in tranches N3.6 billion to the fourth defendant company, Building Associate Limited, owned by the second defendant, Francis Momoh, on the instruction of the first defendant, Touyo Omasuli, the EFCC said in a statement.

Mr West, a Port Harcourt businessman, is the fourth prosecution witness.

Mr West told the court he was awarded a contract by the NDDC to recover the debt owed the commission by oil companies in the Niger Delta region, the EFCC statement said.

“The oil companies were to remit three per cent of their annual budget to the NDDC which they were not remitting in full. Rather, they were doing it at will.

“My company, Starline Consultancy Services, was awarded the contract to recover the debt owed the commission by the oil companies and I was given a four years mandate. I was also going to be paid 10 per cent of the recovered money,” the statement quoted the witness to have said in the court.

“I recovered over N100 billion, and I was paid about N12 billion.

“While I was receiving payments, I was approached by the then executive director finance, directing my attention to the harassment by the Niger Delta youth, that they sometimes lock up their gates and made several demands. So, he said in order to cushion the effects on them, each time I am paid, I should appreciate them, so they can reach out to the youths.

“A Diamond Bank account was sent to me belonging to Building Associate Limited and I transferred a total amount of N3.6 Billion to that account in tranches,” the witness said.

Mr West told the court that the then executive director of finance mentioned to him that the EFCC was investigating the works of NDDC and Starline Services.

“The first defendant called me, that he would send the third defendant and I should give a sub-consultancy makeup letter to Building Associate Limited, which was to explain the money I gave to them, to reach out to the youth, and I obliged,” he said.

The sub-consultancy letter, the offer of contract letter and acceptance letter were tendered by the prosecution counsel, Ekene Iheanacho, and admitted in evidence by the court.

Mr West was cross-examined by the counsel to the defendants.

The judge, Saliu Seidu, adjourned the case to June 11, 25 and 26, 2019 for the continuation of trial.

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