Justice Adamu Turaki of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Wednesday, 21 February, 2018 admitted fresh exhibits against Mr. George Turnah, former Special Adviser to Mr. Dan Abia, former Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), standing trial on a 16-count amended charge bordering on money laundering, abuse of office and obtaining by false pretense a sum of N2,900,000,000.00k( Two Billion, Nine Hundred Million Naira).
Four witnesses were presented before the court on Tuesday and Wednesday and four exhibits were admitted against Turnah. Three bankers were cross-examined and led in evidence by Prosecution Counsel, A.I. Arogha. One of them, Obianuju Nosa-Anadasun, a staff of Zenith bank, Port Harcourt, identified Turnah as a customer of her bank and affirmed that her bank had forwarded his statements of account and account packages to the EFCC for further investigations. Arogha tendered the bank documents before the court and Justice Turaki admitted them as Exhibit ‘E’. She offered more explanations on Turnah's transactions with her bank, confirming that there were transactions on his accounts between 2014 and 2016.
Another prosecution witness presented before the court was Atuegbu Obiageli, a compliance officer with Ecobank, Port Harcourt. She confirmed to the court that Turnah was a customer of her bank. She also said that her bank had earlier forwarded Turnah's statements of account and account packages to the EFCC. The bank documents were brought out to her and she identified them as belonging to Turnah. Arogha tendered the documents before the court and Justice Turaki admitted them as exhibit F. Other documents presented before the court were names and account numbers of Turnah's companies and that of his son: George Eluantaziba. The documents were marked and admitted as exhibits G1 & G2.’
The witness also identified the statements of account in exhibit ‘G2’ as that of George Turnah, Turnah Alabh George, and Eluataziba George, his son with their account numbers and dates of transactions. According to her, the statement of account on the account number 3553003297 of Turnah Alabh George, showed a deposit of a fixed sum of N501, 000,000.00( Five Hundred and One Million Naira only). She also testified that there was another transaction which was a fixed deposit contract of N350,000,000.00 (Three Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) by Turnah Alabh George.
The third prosecution witness, Andem Effiong, a marketing and sales officer from Access bank gave a testimony against the 2nd defendant, Ebis Orubebe, who allegedly ran a joint account with Andem & Ejiba. According to her, a sum of N10,000,000.00k( Ten Million Naira only) was paid into the account in the name of Concerned Niger Delta Youths Initiative. She alleged that Orubebe did not do any job for Concerned Niger Delta Youth Initiative nor rendered any contract to NDDC to warrant him being paid the sum of Ten Million Naira.
The last prosecution witness, Hyacinth Ikechukwu, a partner of Osas & Oseji, a firm of estate surveyor & valuers, told the court how George Turnah Alabh did business with his company and his familiarity with the name ‘Concerned Niger Delta Youth Initiative.’ In a cross-examination by Arogha, Ikechukwu told the court that his company came in contact with the 9th defendant, Concerned Niger Delta Youths Initiative, when it received a payment of N7,700,000.00 (Seven Million, Seven Hundred Thousand Naira only) on behalf of George Turnah. In his further testimony, " We further checked our records and found out the payment was for a lease of property by George Turnah for 3 years from 1 Feb 2015. We did a comprehensive report and sent it to the EFCC", he said. Ikechukwu further revealed that the purpose of leasing the property was for a residential apartment.
While being cross-examined by the defense counsel, Prof A. Amuda Kanike(SAN), Ikechukwu told the court that when the 1st defendant approached him for the property, he said its use was for a residential purpose. He said that the job of his company ended when the property was leased to Turnah and it had no business about what the property was used for.
Justice Turaki adjourned the mater to 27 February 2018 for a continuation of hearing.
George Turnah is on trial, alongside two others and nine companies for a N2.9billion scam.
Head, Media, and Publicity
21 February 2018