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‘How ex-gov, two others withdrew N800m from N2b Ecological Fund’

By Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
15 October 2021   |   4:14 am
Witnesses of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the ongoing money laundering trial against former Niger State Governor, Muazu Babangida Aliyu, and two others have narrated how the defendants withdrew N800 million...

Former Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu

Witnesses of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the ongoing money laundering trial against former Niger State Governor, Muazu Babangida Aliyu, and two others have narrated how the defendants withdrew N800 million with 80 cheques from the N2 billion Ecological Fund.

The witnesses were presented before Justice Mikail Aliyu of the Niger State High Court, Minna.

Aliyu, Tanko Beji and Umar Nasko are being prosecuted for diversion of about N2 billion Ecological Fund.

Mohammed Abubakar (PW3) and Isaac Gado (PW4), both employees of a new generation bank, narrated how 80 cheques drawn in the name of Saidu Nma were cashed and the proceeds delivered to Umar Nasko, who was Chief of Staff to the then governor of Niger.

Under cross examination, PW3 narrated how, in 2014, he was approached by an account owner, I.D Sabin Investment Nigeria Limited, who dropped about 20 cheques for delivery to the bank manager in Minna.

“I immediately handed them over to my dispatch rider and he delivered it to the branch manager, Isaac Gado. The value of the cheques were N10 million each,” he said.

On his part, PW4 affirmed that a customer of the bank issued his colleague about 20 cheques in N10 million each.

“The account holder, I.D SABIN, drew the cheques in the name of Saidu Nma. Before that, I had received calls from the then Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Saidu Ndayako, and the then Chief of Staff, Alhaji Umar Nasko, to expect the cheques,” he said.

He said the two government officials informed him that once the cheques were confirmed, the cash should be delivered to Umar Nasko.

“The same process was followed in respect to the 80 cheques bearing the same amount. In total, that should amount to N800 million. After the withdrawal of the cash, the same amount was delivered to the Chief of Staff. Saidu Nma performed the withdrawal because the cheques were drawn in his name. I collected the cheques, and confirmed that they were properly drawn and signed according to the mandate.”