The trial of a former governor of Nasarawa State, Aliyu Akwe Doma, and two others continued on Wednesday before Justice Agatha A. Okeke, with a prosecution witness, Ego Maikeffi Abashe, who is the Clerk of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, revealing how the former governor allegedly diverted N350 million of state funds.
Mr. Doma, alongside Timothy Anjide, a former secretary to the state government, and Dauda Egwa, a former accountant-general, are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a 10-count charge of money laundering and financial crimes.
The accused persons, between January 2007 and December 2009, allegedly conspired and fraudulently laundered state funds to the tune of N8 billion, according to the EFCC.
At resumed hearing Wednesday, Mr. Abashe told the court there was no approval or record by the House of Assembly for N350 million allegedly disbursed under the title of ‘‘special releases’’.
Mr. Abashe, who was led in evidence by Kemi Phinheiro, also told the court that the State House of Assembly did not initiate the disbursement of N70 million as shown to him in exhibit 23aa-cc.
He added: ‘‘I can’t recall the disbursements of N80 million as shown in exhibit 23ca; N150 million as shown in exhibit 23ab and N120 million as shown in exhibit 23ba, as there was no record or memo initiated for such releases; and there was no cheque raised for special releases in the office of the House of Assembly.”
Mr. Abashe, who said he was familiar with the records of the House of Assembly even before becoming the Clerk, added that “for additional funding, which is not captured by the budget, the Clerk will put out a memo endorsed by the Speaker of the House of Assembly and addressed to the State Executive (Governor). The Governor would approve the memo, which would be conveyed to the House of Assembly and then taken to the Office of the Accountant- General for a cheque to be released”.
While being cross-examined by A. F. Yusuf regarding the disbursements, Mr. Abashe said he was not the Clerk as at the time the disbursements were carried out.
He, however, said the procedures for disbursement were the same and were all in the files.
Still testifying, he said: ‘‘Monies meant for security matters are not addressed to the Clerk or channelled to the Clerk, as security matters are not discussed in the House of Assembly.’’
Another prosecution witness, Abubakar Sadiq Ishaq, permanent secretary, Bureau for Cabinet Affairs and Special Services, presented two documents titled: Expenditure Needs for the Nasarawa State Public Services and Part of Nasarawa State Executive Council Convention, which were tendered and admitted as exhibit P30 and P31, respectively.
He told the court that the documents were to guide government officials, ministries, departments and agencies particularly in areas of finances.
Mr. Ishaq, who was a director in the same office, said: “It was proposed that the governor could not make expenditure above N50 million. However, the governor can expend any amount and later make ratification provided that the expenditure was done in the interest of the state and in accordance with due process.’’
When Mr. Ishaq was presented with exhibit P20, which was an approval for N496 million initiated by the Office of the Secretary to the State government, he told the court that there was no ratification by the state executive council for it.
Also, going through exhibit P23 (cc), which was the approval granted by Doma for N150 million and P23 (ba) for N120 million , he told the court there was no directive to the State executive for ratification and he did not receive any ratification for it either.
The case was adjourned to June 23, 2016.
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