A Forensic Investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), Chidi Chukwuka, on Thursday told a Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos that it was not aware that a former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, wrote ex-American President, George Bush, over a $1.7m Potomac, Washington house which a former governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu, purchased in 2003.
Chukwuka, who appeared Thursday before Justice Mohammed Idris, where Kalu is facing trial over alleged fraud of N2.9bn, said the alleged letter between Obasanjo and Bush was none of the anti-graft agency’s business.
While fielding questions from Kalu’s lawyer, Prof. Awa Kalu (SAN), under cross-examination, Chukwuka, equally denied knowledge of the existence of any similar correspondence between Obasanjo and then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair.
“I suggest to you that it was not only the EFCC that was interested in the property in Exhibit W1. I said so because then President Obasanjo had correspondence with then US President, George W. Bush,” Kalu confronted Chukwuka.
But, the investigator replied, “My office is in the EFCC, not in the US.”
“You may not also be aware that Obasanjo was in correspondence with then UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, with respect to some properties,” Kalu suggested to the witness.
“Not to my knowledge,” he said.
Asked by the SAN whether the EFCC discovered in the course of its investigations that the former governor acquired a “family house” in Boston, Massachusetts, “as far back as 1997”, Chukwuka said he did not investigate the property.
“We are aware that the first defendant, by Nigerian standard, it is possible he has a house in the US but the house in the US was not subject to investigation; so, we did not pay attention to that,” he added.
“Did you find out that the area where that family house was located had racial issue on account of which he put it up for sale?” the lawyer asked the investigator.
“It was not part of our investigation,” he said.
The lawyer further suggested to the investigator that “as a result of the racial issue, the first defendant sold the property for $3.8m in 2003,” to which, Chukwuka again replied that “it was not part of our investigation, sir.”
“Did your investigation show that the Potomac house was acquired with proceeds from the sale of the Boston property?” Kalu asked the investigator.
“We found an account where $1.7m was drawn and paid from a Nigerian bank,” the investigator said.
“Did you uncover an account from Nigeria or any part of Africa where $1.7m was drawn to pay for the property?” Kalu asked.
“It may interest you that the suspect was investigated that time and he had foreign accounts and funds were moved from Nigeria into those foreign accounts,” the investigator said.
“I suggest to you that the property in Potomac was funded from an offshore account in the US,” Kalu put it to the investigator, who responded, “You are right.”
Meanwhile the court has adjourned the matter till today for continuation of trial.