After all the delays, the trial of Azibaola Robert, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s cousin, began on Tuesday with the EFCC presenting its first witness, Ibrahim Mahe, who narrated how he transferred $40million to “One Plus Holdings Nigeria Limited”, a company owned by Mr. Robert.
He and his wife, Stella, are standing trial on a 7-count charge before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja. They are accused of money laundering and corruption.
Mahe, a retired permanent secretary, special services in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, while being led in evidence by EFCC counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, told the court that:
He did not know the first and second defendants (Robert and Stella), but got to know the third defendant, One Plus Company, through a transaction.
Narrating how he got to know the company, Mr. Mahe said that, “on August 20, 2014, the National Security Adviser endorsed a memo to me which originated from the Office of the Director of Finance and Administration of the ONSA detailing the bank details of one company called ‘One Plus’ and the purpose for which the company was to be paid a sum of $40million (forty million US dollars).
“The NSA instructed me to prepare payment and I prepared the payment mandate for the $40million in favour of ‘One Plus’ for the signature of the NSA.
I sent it to the NSA, he signed and sent it to back to me and subsequent action was for me to counter-sign the mandate and then send it to the Central Bank of Nigeria for Payment,” Mr. Mahe said.
The witness had earlier told the court that his responsibilities involved matters that had to do with the office of the NSA.
He told the court that his office served as a warehouse for funds of the “Intelligence Community”.
“When funds get into the account, the NSA is informed of the arrival of the funds and proposal on the distribution to the various agencies is made to him.
When he approves, the monies are sent to the end users,” said Mr. Mahe.
The case continues on July 4 and 5, 2016.