Wednesday, 24 February 2016

$2.1bn arms probe: How Bello, Yuguda diverted N1.5bn, EFCC tells court.

Haliru Muhammed Bello

Trial of the former National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Haliru Bello, continued yesterday, with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, exposing how the defendant allegedly diverted public funds into a company he bequeathed to his son, Abba. 

The anti-graft agency which is prosecuting the former PDP boss and his son before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, said the defendants siphoned the funds with the help of the erstwhile National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), and a former Minister of Finance (State), Bashir Yuguda. 

Whereas Dasuki was said to have approved the transfer of N300 million from an account the Office of the NSA, ONSA, operated with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, into the account of Abba’s company, Bam Projects and Properties Limited, 11 days to the 2015 presidential election, Yuguda, on the other hand, allegedly authorised the release of over N1.5 billion to a Bureau de Change operator identified as Ja’mal Halal. Both Dasuki and Yuguda are currently facing a separate charge before an Abuja High Court over their alleged involvement in the illegal diversion of N13.6 billion from public coffers. 

At the resumed trial of Bello and his son yesterday, an investigative officer with the EFCC, Mrs. Rouqayya Ibrahim, told the court that the CBN, on March 4, 2015, transferred N30 billion into ONSA’s account. She said the payment was made from the statutory stabilization and residual account on the instruction of the then Accountant General of the Federation, AGF, adding that out of the sum, Bam Project and Properties Limited, got N300 million under the guise that it was payment for the construction of “safe houses”. 

The witness, who was led in evidence by EFCC lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, said: “From the statement of ONSA account, N30 billion was paid on March 11, 2015, by the AGF to the ONSA and on March 17, N300 million was paid out of the N30 billion to ONSA account. “When we requested for the details of the transaction, it was revealed that Bam Project and Properties Limited, received N300 million from ONSA. The analysis of Bam Projects’ Sterling Bank account revealed that the account received a total of N300 million in two tranches of 150 million each on February 27, 2015.



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