Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja has adjourned the trial of a former Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, his two sons, Aminu and Mustapha, Aminu Wada Abubakar, Bamaina Holdings Ltd and Speeds International Ltd to November 25, 26 and 27, 2019.
They are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on a 43-count charge bordering on money laundering and abuse of office.
The matter, which had been adjourned from October 2, 2019, continued today October 3, 2019 with the testimony of the prosecution’s 15th witness, PW15, Micheal Wetkas, who shed light on how Lamido, during his tenure as governor, allegedly laundered state funds.
Led in evidence by prosecution counsel, Chile Okoroma, Wetkas, an investigator of the EFCC, narrated how investigations began in 2013, and how the Commission’s investigation and forensic team discovered that huge sums had been paid into Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company’s accounts in Intercontinental (now Access Bank), Zenith and Sterling banks from the Jigawa State treasury.
He said: “The second defendant (Aminu Sule Lamido) was arrested in 2012 at the Aminu Kano airport for possession of undeclared funds. When the matter was eventually referred to the Commission, preliminary investigations revealed his links to a number of companies which we further investigated.”
“In the course of investigations, we discovered that during the time that the first defendant (Lamido) was the Governor of Jigawa State, Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company was the biggest and ‘the main’ contractor at the time.
“We also discovered that between 2007 and 2013, the company had been awarded contracts with a cumulative cost up to N30bn.”
According to him, investigators requested for and were furnished with journals from Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company.
He said: “However, we discovered discrepancies in the journals received.
“We wrote letters to Dantata and Sawoe requesting for a summary of contracts awarded to their company by the Jigawa State Government, as well as a summary of payments received from the state's accounts. They obliged.”
Further examination of journals, cashbooks and electronic records, he said, revealed that during this period, three of Lamido’s companies – Gada Construction Company, Bamaina Company Nigeria and Speed International Limited – were continually awarded sub-contracts for the supply of bitumen, diesel, steel iron rods and reinforcement iron rods by Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company.
According to the PW15, payments received from the Jigawa State Government to Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company included the sums of N130,625,419.75 paid on September 15, 2010; N86,894,058.42 paid on February 25, 2010; N50, 999, 865.40 paid on August 25, 2011; N316,143,121.74 paid on 27 December 2010; N283,939,572.75 and 430,858,472.94 paid on September 26, 2008; N26,502,298.64 on August 19, 2011; N100,472,350.85 paid on March 28, 2012; N443,108,610.26 paid on November 28, 2008; N386,734, 810.53 paid on July 09, 2009; N45,907,434,54 on October 2, 2009; N56,780,783.54 paid on November 3, 2010; N335,316,448.54 paid on October 22, 2008; N71,298,259.82 paid on July 21, 2009; N203, 518, 559.60 paid on October 2, 2009; N54,071,603.52 paid on November 3, 2010; N471,514,405.03 on July 21, 2009; N332,296,152.28 on October 20, 2009 and N583,785,081.14 paid on November 16, 2009 for various capital projects.
Wetkas added that Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company had paid various sums into the accounts of Speeds International Limited and Bamaina Holding Company, adding that the sole signatory to the accounts was Lamido.
Various documents, including award letters by the Jigawa State Government to Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company and journals of the construction company were tendered and admitted in evidence as exhibits 7 – 24 series.
Due to the voluminous evidence, however, Justice Ojukwu acceded to the prosecution’s request that evidence of additional payments should be compiled into a schedule which would be tendered before the court at the next adjourned date, with a view to speed up the trial.
It will be recalled that Lamido and his co-defendants were re-arraigned before Justice Ojuwkwu on October 24, 2018 on a 43-count amended charge bordering on abuse of office and money laundering. Their trial began in 2016 before Justices Adeniyi Ademola, and was later transferred to Justice Babatunde Quadri. However, following the transfer of Justice Quadri out of Abuja, Justice Ojukwu took over the case.
Media & Publicity
3 October, 2019