EFCC witness exonerates ex-FCT minister from alleged crime

EFCC witness exonerates ex-FCT minister from alleged crime

A prosecution witness, Mr. Ishaya Dauda told an FCT High Court, Gudu that in the course of investigations, no government money was traced to the former FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed’s account.

A senior Detective Superintendent with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Dauda, has said this during cross examination by the defence counsel, Chief Chris Uche.

Mohammed is being prosecuted by the commission on a six-count charge bordering on false declaration of assets and graft to the tune of N864 million.

The witness admitted that the former minister was arraigned based on an intelligent report by the commission and not on a petition.

He said though the work of the commission was based on petition and intelligence report, the petition against the minister came first, adding that investigation had not been concluded in respect of the petition.

Upon further questioning on the source of the intelligence report, the witness said he would not disclose the source.

Earlier, while the witness was led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Prince Ben Ikani said that the defendant received a property at Asokoro as a bribe by Aso Savings and Loans.

Dauda alleged that the former minister on the request of Aso Savings, had relocated Abuja Urban Mass Transit from their plot at Mpape area along Kubwa express.

The witness gave evidence that Aso Savings and Loans Ltd had stood as guarantor to Abuja Urban Mass Transit when they obtained a loan of N1.8 billion from the former Oceanic bank for the acquisition of new buses.

He said Abuja Urban Mass Transit had defaulted in repayment of the loan which led to Aso Savings being made to clear the debt.

“For Aso Savings to be able to recover their money from Abuja Mass Transit, they requested from the then FCT minister to relocate Abuja Urban Mass Transit to another place.

“This was to enable Aso Savings and Loans Ltd take over the land. They now bought the Asokoro property for the defendant in appreciation,’’ the witness said.

He said that to confirm that, they had invited the former Managing Director of Aso Savings, Mr. Hassan Usman and the former Executive Director, Marketing, Mr. Maimanu Aliyu to make statements.

He said they also invited the seller of the said Asokoro property, Ifeanyi Ihejirike and Mrs. Ogechi Nwaduke who also gave statements in their office.

Dauda said that when the defendant was questioned about the property, he initially refused to make statements.

Other properties allegedly belonged to the former minister which he did not declare in the Asset Declaration Form given by the EFCC include a property at the Three Arms Zone, Abuja, and a plot of land in Kaduna.

So far, the prosecution tendered the statements made by the defendant to the EFCC in court which was admitted and marked as exhibit A.

The other exhibit tendered, marked and admitted as exhibit B was the EFCC Asset Declaration Form.

Justice Abubakar Talba adjourned hearing in continuation of the trial to Feb.12, 2018.