Abdulrazaq Salawu, a witness in the ongoing trial of a former governor of Nasarawa State, Aliyu Akwe-Doma, on Tuesday told Justice Agatha A. Okeke of the Federal High Court sitting in Lafia, Nasarawa State that a former Secretary to Nasarawa State Government and a second accused in the charge, Timothy Anthony Anjide, could not explain how over N15 billion expended under emergency head was spent.
Akwe-Doma is facing trial alongside Timothy Anthony Anjide, a former Secretary to the State Government, and Dauda Egwa, a former Accountant-General, on 10 counts of abuse of office and money laundering.
The accused persons between January 2007 and December 2009 allegedly conspired and fraudulently laundered state funds to the tune of N8 billion, an offence contrary to Section 14(1)(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2004 and punishable under section 14(1) of the same Act.
Salawu, under cross-examination, told the court that the investigation conducted by his team unearthed monies that were released and tagged ‘emergencies’.
“The monies are mostly without approval”, he said.
According to him, for every payment there must be an approval by the Nasarawa state government and it must pass through all the checks before it is passed to the Accountant-Genera. He stated that these conditions were not met, as there was the need for an approval, which was evidently not attached.
Salawu, who was taken through exhibit P14e, (payment for special release) told the court that, “the second defendant (Anjide) acted in his official capacity with regard to payment and also acted as the receiver of the funds”.
The witness stated that, in the course of investigation the team came across several cheques which were issued in the name of the ‘former SSG’ and not ‘Timothy Anjide’, whereas they are one and same.
When asked if their investigation showed any query to the second defendant, Salawu said “there is a clear difference between auditing and investigation”. He added that they received audit queries between 2007 -2010 by one Adamu Garba, who was then the Auditor-General.
At this point, Justice Okeke adjourned to Wednesday, March 1, 2017 for further cross-examination.
At the resumed sitting today, Salawu told the court that over N15billion were expended under emergency head 416 (12vi), which were classified wrongly.
He added that at the end of the investigation, “it was discovered that money was spent on questionable circumstance based on available evidence, statements and payment vouchers as well as the process for paying the money, which he said the second defendant could not explain how it was spent.
After the witness had been discharged from the witness box, Olalekan Ojo, counsel to the defence, informed the court of his intention to file a no-case submission on behalf of the defendants.
He also asked for the release of Akwe-Doma’s travel documents to enable him travel to India for medical check-up.
Justice Okeke adjourned to March 15, 2017 for hearing on the no-case submission.