N1.35 billion fraud: Court admits more evidence against ex-Governor Lamido

A Federal High Court in Maitama, Abuja, on Friday, admitted more documents presented to it by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in evidence against a former Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido, and others.

Mr Lamido is being prosecuted alongside his two sons: Aminu Sule Lamido and Mustapha Sule Lamido. Also facing same trial are Aminu Wada Abubakar, and two companies: Bamaina Holdings Limited and Speeds International Limited.

They are being prosecuted by the commission on an amended 43-count charge for allegedly defrauding Jigawa State to the tune of N1.35 billion.

Longji Tupkop, a relationship officer with the United Bank for Africa, UBA while testifying as the eighth prosecution witness, led in evidence by prosecution counsel, Chile Okoroma, presented to the court several documents including a subpoena summoning the bank’s representative; account opening documents (original and photocopies) for Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company Ltd; the account opening form duly filled and signed by the signatories and the mandate card of the signatories.

Others are: identification documents of the signatories, certificate of incorporation of Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company Ltd, the Know-Your-Customer forms for the signatories and the allotment of shares form (CO2) from the Corporate Affairs Commission.

Also included are board resolution of the account signatories, Memorandum of Association of the company, a Power Holding Company of Nigeria utility bill, search report of the company from the Corporate Affairs Commission, a utility bill from Federal Capital Territory Water Board, account statements of Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company, as well as a certificate of identification from the bank.

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The documents were tendered and admitted in evidence.

Mr Tupkop’s testimony highlighted the transactions made on the account between April 23 and 26, 2013. According to him, the first transaction (within that time frame) was a reversal of a term loan repayment of N35,627,061.85 (Thirty Five Million, Six Hundred and Twenty Seven Thousand, Sixty One Naira, Eighty Five Kobo).

The second, Mr Tupkop said, was a cheque drawn in favour of Speeds International Limited in the sum of N7,245,000.00, (Seven Million, Two Hundred and Forty Five Thousand). The third transaction according to him, was a cheque in favour of Gada Construction Company Limited in the sum of N7,245,000.00, (Seven Million, Two Hundred and Forty Five Thousand). The fourth was a cheque in favour of Bamaina Company Limited in the sum of N7,212,800.00, (Seven Million, Two Hundred and Twelve Thousand, Eight Hundred Naira).

Mr Tupkop stated that “On April 3, 2013, the cheques were presented for clearing and the account was debited, but the cheques were returned and the account credited back due to lack of confirmation. On the 26th of April 2013, however, the returned cheques were represented for payment and they were paid.”

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The prosecution witness nine (PW9), Remegius Ugwu, a compliance officer with Zenith Bank Plc., presented to the court several documents in the likeness of those presented by Mr Tupkop, the eight prosecution witness, which were also tendered and admitted in evidence within exhibits LL, MM, NN and OO series.

Razaq Adetuyi, a compliance officer with Access Bank Plc., who testified as the PW10, followed the same pattern, providing several bank transaction documents that were admitted in evidence as exhibits in the VV, WW, XX, YY, ZZ, ZZ1, AAA, BBB, CCC, DDD, EEE, FFF, GGG, HHH, III and JJJ series.

Earlier in the proceedings, the defence counsel, Kanu Agabi, mentioned to the court that he had a motion for the release of the defendants’ passports.

Mr Okoroma, however, noted that although the prosecution had filed a counter-affidavit, it had just been served with a further affidavit by the defence and had not had the time to study it.

The trial judge, Ijeoma Ojukwu, adjourned the matter to May 20, 21 and 22, 2019 for the continuation of trial.

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