Metro News

Witness: How Jonathan’s minister, Plateau PDP chairman withdrew N450m cash from bank

Annette Gyen, a witness, has told a federal high court in Jos how Sarah Ochekpe, former minister of water resources, and two others allegedly withdrew N450 million cash a new generation bank.

Ochekpe, who was minister under ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, and the co-accused are being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly collecting N450 million from Diezani Alison-Madueke, former petroleum minister, in 2015.

The two other accused are Raymond Dabo, former Plateau PDP chairman, and Leo Jatau, coordinator of the president Goodluck Johnathan campaign in the state.

The EFCC is alleging that the trio collected N450 million cash from one Annette Olije-Gyen, operation manager of the bank, which exceeded the amount authorised by law.

The anti-graft agency said the offence contravened sections 18 (a)(d), 1 (a), 16(1)(d), and was punishable under section 16 (2) of money laundering (prohibition) Act 2012, (as amended).

At the court sitting on Monday, Gyen told the court that Martins Ezuogbe, who was the then group divisional head of operations directed the bank cashiers to disburse the money to the trio.

“On March 26, 2015, we obediently called the trio, who came to our office and were given the money,” she said
“After confirming the money, we gave them our bullion van with which they conveyed it.”

She said on January 8, 2017, the bank received a letter from EFCC asking for details of the transaction, and “on January 11, we responded to that request.”

The request of Ahmed Munchaka, the prosecutor, that the two letters be tendered as evidence was rejected by the defence lawyers.

Gyang Zi and S.O. Oyewale, the defence counsels, argued that the letters should not be admitted because they were not original copies.

“The bank should have produced original copies of the letters; the court cannot work with photocopies because they might have been tampered with. We can only accept original copies,” they said.

After listening to the parties, Musa Kurya, the presiding judge, adjourned the case till May 17 and May 18 for ruling on admission of the letters, and continuation of hearing.

Green Parrot News

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