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I helped Ohakim buy $2.29m house in Abuja, says witness




One of the prosecution witnesses in the trial of former governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, Mr. Abu Sule, yesterday told the Federal High Court, Abuja, that he helped him (Ohakim) buy a property in Asokoro, Abuja.

According to him, he collected the sum of $2.29 million cash in a Ghana-Must-Go bag from the former governor to pay for the property.

Sule, who is the second witness produced by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was speaking during cross examination by the former governor’s lead Counsel, Awa Kalu (SAN).

The witness said he collected the said sum in $100 bills at night sometimes in November 2008 and handed it over to the then owner of the property, Alhaji Isah Maidabino, the next day.

The witness, an architect and Managing Director, Tweenex Consociates H.D Limited added that he kept the money in the boot of his car overnight before handing it over to Maidabino, now a director in the office of the Head of Service of the Federation.

Ohakim, who was the governor of Imo State between 2007 and 2011 is standing trial on a three-count charge of money laundering.

The charges hinged on his alleged purchase of the property at No. 60, Kwame Nkrumah Street, Plot No 1098, Cadastral Zone A04, Asokoro District, Abuja, with the cash payment of $2.29 equivalent of N270 million.

Ohakim was also accused of failing to declare the said property alongside others.

The prosecution said the offences bordering on cash payment of N270 million violated Sections 15(1)(d) and 14(1)(b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004.

Sule had earlier in his evidence-in-chief, narrated how he allegedly helped Ohakim to buy and conceal the ownership of the property.

The witness told Justice Adeniyi Ademola that the former governor instructed him to use his (Sule’s) company, Tweenex Consociates H.D Limited to buy the property.

The witness who was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Mr. Festus Keyamo, noted that Ohakim subsequently put pressure on him to prepare a tenancy agreement with Tweenex as the landlord to make it look as if he (Ohakim) was a tenant in the property.

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