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N11bn Contract Scam: More Revelations as Ex-Gov Audu’s Trial Resumes
A Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court has fixed Wednesday April 15 for further hearing in the trial of a former governor of Kogi State, Abubakar Audu.
Audu and a former director-general of the Directorate of Rural Development, Kogi State, Alfa Ibn Mustapha, , are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for offences bordering on criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of N10, 965,837,040 (Ten billion, Nine Hundred and Sixty five Million, Eight Hundred and Thirty Seven Thousand, Forty Naira).
On Thursday, April 2, 2015, when the case came up for hearing, Jabaru Olatunji, a prosecution witness told the court that several documents concerned with the award of contracts to major contractors between 2000 and 2003 during Audu’s tenure as governor, were forged.
Olatunji, a staff of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, who is also the eighth prosecution witness, while being led in evidence by counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, told the court that he was part of a Joint Task Force involving five security agencies that investigated the petition against Audu.
He alleged that the accused used his office to siphon the funds of Kogi State Government.
Olatunji told the court that on the investigative team’s visit to Kogi State, it obtained documented detailing all the allocations to the state government from May 2000 to April 2003.from a man named Shuaibu at the office of the Accountant General of the State.
According to him, the team proceeded to the Ministry of Works where they met one Dr Ocheni who also furnished them with records of all the allocations, contracts awarded and payments made during the same period..
Analyses of these documents, according to the witness, revealed that three companies, Leoflench Nigeria Limited, Bulkom Nigeria Limited, Aresanmi Technical Industrial Limited and Pet-Tim Nigeria Limited were the major contractors in the state.
He said that investigations revealed that Leoflinch Nigeria Limited’s documents were forged by the second accused.
Olatunji told the court that based on this revelation the team invited some key officers one of who was Kayode Ayodele who said that he knew nothing about most of the contracts and that most of the documents and vouchers shown to him were forged.
Olatunji further stated that the forged nature of the documents were also buttressed by the statement of one Engineer Adejo Yusuf who went ahead “to separate the falsified records from the real one.”
In the course of investigation, Olatunji stated that, one Mr. Olajire, an accountant with the Kogi State government, was invited and he confirmed that most of the documents were forged and that he was ordered to approve most of the contracts.
He also told the court that investigation also revealed that several millions were withdrawn by the accountant and handed over to the second accused.
Olatunji stated further that the second accused and the director of Leoflench were invited for a meeting where Mustapha (the second accused) admitted that he acted on the instruction of Audu.
He added that Mustapha confessed that Audu directed him to forge documents and to raise drafts from the First Bank account of the Directorate of Rural Development, DRD after which the funds were paid into Bulkom’s Diamond Bank account.
He said investigation and search conducted on Bulkoms showed that the first accused actually had business with the company.
The documents of contract agreement and cheques were presented to the court and admitted in evidence.
It would be recalled that a witness, Uchenna Agagara, from Diamond Bank had earlier testified that from May 29, 2001 to July 23, 2003, about N926m was lodged in Bulkom Nigeria Limited’s Diamond bank account, mostly through cheques and drafts issued by an old generation bank.
Justice A.O Adeniyi has fixed Wednesday April 15 for further hearing on the matter