The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission revealed on Wednesday that its operatives found a credit entry of N1.76 billion in the account of one Abdullahi Maigwandu Bagudu, whose monthly salary was N33,000, noting that it immediately suspected money laundering.
The EFCC noted that Bagudu was a brother of Tanimu Turaki, a former Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs under President Goodluck Jonathan.
The commission said that after it did its cash work analysis, network analysis and realised “that Bagudu cannot be the owner of the account”, it was found that the account was actually managed by the former minister.
The trial of Turaki continued on Wednesday before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, with the 12th prosecution witness, Bello Hamma'Adama, narrating to the court how funds earmarked for the sensitisation of Muslim youths were redirected to the account of Turaki’s wife.
Bello, an operative attached to the Chairman’s Monitoring Unit of the EFCC, while being led in evidence by M. S. Abubakar, told the court that sometime in 2017, the EFCC received intelligence on the activities of the first defendant, Kabiru Turaki, a minister between 2013 and 2015 during which he also doubled as Chairman, Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North.
He told the court that the first defendant was profiled, leading to the discovery of the activities of the other defendants. Consequently, letters of investigation activities were written to relevant authorities, while documents received were analysed.
According to a release from the EFCC, Bello told the court that N359,104,000 was paid into the account of the Ministry of Special duties for the sensitisation of Muslims to the achievements of Jonathan but the money was disbursed suspiciously, which led the EFCC to follow the trail.
“Bello further revealed to the court that the balance of N159,104,000 from the account of the Ministry of Special Duties was transferred to different individuals with the narration – Sensitisation, including one Abdullahi Maigwandu Bagudu who got N45 million, another Abdulrahman Yusuf got N50 million, Samson Okpetu the second defendant got N20 million while another got N30 million.
“The witness further told the court that Maigwandu, who earned a monthly salary of N33,000, had a credit entry of N1.76 billion in his account and the transactions came in tranches of N10 million or N5 million, adding that ‘we suspected money laundering, so we did cash work analysis, network analysis and realised that he cannot be the owner of the account. Every transaction in the account belonged to the first defendant who happens to be his brother,’” the EFCC said.
Bello also told the court that Maigwandu transferred the sum of N20 million to the wife of the first defendant, Halima Kabiru Turaki; another N20 million to a company and another N5 million was withdrawn in China through an ATM to purchase furniture.
The witness told the court that the wife of the first defendant, when she was invited, told the EFCC on the record that “she is only a house wife and has never done any contract or carried out any sensitisation exercise for the Special Duties Ministry.”
The trial has been adjourned till February 9 and 10, 2021, for continuation of hearing.
Turaki, his special assistant, Sampson Okpetu, and two companies – Samtee Essentials Limited and Pasco Investment Limited – are standing trial on 16 counts of fraud amounting to N714,670, 014.87.