N2.1bn Fraud: Maina’s Witness Lacks Documents to Back N282bn Recovery Claim
A Defense witness in the ongoing N2.1bn money laundering trial of Abdulrasheed Maina, former Chairman of defunct Pension Reform Task Team today March 5, 2021 failed to provide any document in support of the claims of recovery of humongous sums he had made in his evidence before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The witness (DW1) Ngozika Ihuoma, who claims to be a management consultant and politician, has been in the witness box for 4 consecutive court sessions. Led in evidence by counsel to the 1st defendant Olawole Abiola, he regaled the Court with tantalizing tales of recovery recorded by the first defendant as PRTT Chair. According to him, the defendant through the PRTT was able to recover N282bn in 18 months and also recovered properties valued at N1.6tn, adding that N75bn of the recovery was used to finance the 2012 budget.
He accused former chairmen of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu and his predecessor Ibrahim Lamorde of mismanaging the assets purportedly recovered by the 1st defendant. His words: “I stand by the fact that EFCC mismanaged both cash and assets recovered by the team”. He specifically claimed that Magu-led EFCC sold some of the recovered assets to cronies, friends and family, adding that a particular property on Gana Street Maitama was sold to Femi Falana at an undervalued price of N1.2bn.
However, under cross-examined by the prosecution counsel, M.S Abubakar, Ihuoma admitted that there were no documents before the Court to support some of his earlier claims.
The witness revealed that he has never worked with the EFCC, neither is he familiar with the workings of the organization. Ihuoma also said he has not tendered any report or proceedings of the Justice Ayo Salami panel.
Contrary to his earlier claims that 222 properties were mismanaged, the witness admitted that he has not submitted the list of the said properties to Court, neither does he have any documents to prove the value of the said properties.
The witness further admitted that he was never an elected National Assembly member, nor was he ever a Senator; but a consultant to the Senate Committee on Local Government Administration.
Meanwhile, attempt by Maina to tender some documents, including requisition letters for ICT items and biometric equipment, staff expenses (PRTT & Staff of the Office of Head of Service, OHoSF) memos, amongst others, was refused by Court following opposition by the prosecution.
Abubakar urged the court to reject the documents as they were not original and also not certified.
The case has been adjourned to March 9, 10, 11. 2021 for continuation of cross-examination.