Details of how former governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim, paid $2. 29million for a property in Abuja emerged on Tuesday at the resumed hearing into the case of corruption against him.
Ishaya Dauda, a Senior Detective Superintendent with the Economic Crimes Commission, EFCC, told the Justice Adeniyi Ademola-led court that Ohakim paid for the property – Plot No. 1098 Cadastral Zone A04, Asokoro District, otherwise known as No.60, Kwame Nkurumah Street, Asokoro, Abuja – disguised as rent.
Dauda told the court that Ohakim, who was in office between 2007 and 2011, was invited in 2013, even though investigation began in 2010 when the commission received petitions against him.
‘‘I gave him the petitions to go through and asked him if he would be willing to volunteer statement or not and he answered in the affirmative. I then administered the word of caution and EFCC statement form on him. I also asked him whether he understood the word of caution and he said yes; then, he signed the form, indicating that he understood the word of caution,’’ he told the court, adding that statements were taken from Ohakim five times between 2013 and 2015.
He was also given the EFCC Asset Declaration form to fill.
In the declaration form, Dauda said, it was found that there was no financial transaction in respect of the land, as everything was done in cash, and when quizzed further, the accused said he rented it from one Abu Sule, Managing Director, Tweeenex Consociate H.D. Limited.
The commission then invited Sule, who initially denied ownership of the said property. He later said the former governor paid him $2.2million for it, which was equivalent of N270m as at that time.
‘‘Abu Sule said he bought the property from one Alhaji Isah Muntair Maidabino. He also said after receiving the money from the accused person at the Imo State Government House in Asokoro, Abuja on a certain night, he made the cash payment to Alhaji Issa Muntair-Maidabino,” Dauda added.
Ohakim and Sule then entered into a tenancy agreement to mislead people into thinking the land was rented.
‘‘Abu Sule also said the accused person issued a Fidelity Bank cheque for N20m as rent for two years. He, however, said that he used the money to renovate the property and another property in Asokoro,’’ the court heard in addition to that Muntair-Maidabino confirmed receiving $2.2million from Sule.
It was at this point, when confronted with Sule’s disclosure, that Ohakim owned up to the ownership of the land but said he only paid in instalments, something Sule refuted.
The matter was adjourned till November 12 and 13, 2015 for cross examination and further hearing.