A detective with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Adekunle Odofin, on November 29 told a Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja, how a former governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, allegedly laundered over N1.8 billion belonging to the state, using a company co-owned with his son, Abdul-Aziz Nyako, a Senator.
Mr Odofin, the twentieth prosecution witness, had on November 27 told the court how two people (Mohammad Maj Iro and Dalhatu Abdulmalik) who were crucial to the prosecution of the case, mysteriously died at the point of filing the case in court.
Mr Nyako is being prosecuted by the EFCC, alongside his son, Abdul-Aziz, Abubakar Aliyu and Zulkifikk Abba, on a 37-count charge of criminal conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office and money laundering to the tune of N29billion.
Five companies that allegedly served as conduit pipes for the illegal diversion of the funds – Blue Opal Limited, Sebore Farms & Extension Limited, Pagoda Fortunes Limited, Tower Assets Management Limited and Crust Energy Limited, were equally charged before the court as the 5th to 9th defendants.
Continuing his evidence, while being led by Rotimi Jacobs, Mr Odofin told the court how Mr Nyako allegedly used a company, Blue Opal Limited, co-owned with his son, Abdul-Aziz, to launder over N1.8 billion belonging to Adamwa State government, with the help of the late Mahammad Maj Iro, the former General Manager Zenith Bank PLC, Adamawa State.
The witness explained to the court that one of the defendants in the case, Abubakar Aliyu, who was the Principal Special Assistant to Mr Nyako on Debt Management, was in charge of the finances of Blue Opal Limited.
The detective said parts of the huge sums of money pulled from the state account, was used to develop Hillview Estate, using the company of his son, Blue Opal Limited.
Testifying further, Mr Odofin told the court how nine companies subscribed to one duplex each in the estate.
He said: “The first company, Amdak Investment Limited, owned by late Dalhatu Abdulmalik, cousin to Nyako, paid the sum of N240 million to the sales account of the 5th defendant, Blue Opal Limited, domiciled in Zenith Bank. The second company, Kirkelly Investment Limited equally owned by Abdulmalik also paid N240million to the sales account of Blue Opal Limited. The third company, Pinkola Engineering Limited, which was also owned by the deceased, equally paid N240million naira into the sales account of Blue Opal.
“The 4th company that subscribed to the estate is Pagoda Fortune Nigeria Limited and it paid N240million to the sales account of Blue Opal Limited. The 5th company that subscribed to Hillview Estate is Pagoda Petroleum Limited and it paid N240million into the sales account of Blue Opal Limited.
“The 6th company was Packpoint Limited. It paid N105million into the same account for the subscription of a unit in the estate. The 7th company was Masterlink Limited and it paid N195milion to the same account. The 8th company was MHN Enterprises Limited. It paid the sum of N105million to the sales account of Blue Opal Limited and the 9th company, Zaitun Farms Developers Limited, equally paid N240million naira into the sales account of Blue Opal Limited”. Odofin said that these monies were paid on different dates between 2011 and 2012.
He said: “The question is, how were these monies paid? My lord, a critical analysis of Zenith Bank accounts of seven out of nine companies, excluding Masterlink and MHN Enterprises Limited, showed that part of these monies used in subscribing in Hillview Estate, was transferred from Zenith Bank account to the sales account of Blue Opal Limited.
“Also, out of the bulk money Moj Iro pulled out from two accounts belonging to the state (Special Service Department, SSD and Secretary to the State Government), was deposited on behalf of these companies to the sales account of Blue Opal Limited.
“My lord, part of the money Maj Iro also pulled from the state’s account, was transferred to Tower Asset Management Limited, domiciled in Zenith bank”.
When given exhibit L33, (Abubakar Aliyu’s statement to the EFCC) the witness read, “My lord, L33 page 2, I read, “when I noticed the frequency of the transaction on the account and the magnitude of the transaction, I approached Mr Maj Iro to tell me the source of this money, he said to me that the monies are coming from Adamawa State Government account”.
Justice Abang, thereafter, adjourned to November 30 for the continuation of trial.
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