An operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mr. David Mkpe, has told the Federal High Court in Abuja that $40million paid to former President Goodluck Jonathan cousin’s firm One Plus Holding Nigeria Limited, formed part of $1.2bn released in March 2014 for security purposes.
Mkpe ,the 10th prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Jonathan cousin, Mr. Robert Azibaola , his wife, Stella and the firm Oneplus Holding Nigeria Limited, further told the court that the money was taken from the account of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Azibola, Stella and Oneplus are facing a seven-count criminal charge by EFCC after the anti -graft agency traced the sum of $40 million to a bank in London that was wired through Citibank N A Canada Square Canary in Wharf London E 145 LB into the account of One Plus Holdings Nigeria Limited.
EFCC is prosecuting the defendants for allegedly diverting $40 million purportedly meant for the supply of tactical communication kits for Nigeria’s Special Forces.
According to the commission, the offence is contrary to Section 8(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.
Mkpe disclosure on Thursday under cross examination by Defence lawyer, Chris Uçhe (SAN) further confirmed the source of the funds. The EFCC operative said that the investigative team came across a memo from the ONSA that okayed the payment of $40 million to One Plus Holdings Nigeria Limited.
The witness said, “My Lord, funds from which the $40m was paid to Oneplus Holdings Nigeria Limited came from NNPC funds.
“In March 2014, Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd) wrote a memo to the President entitled “Intervention in Urgent National Security Project” through which he sought the approval of Mr. President for the sum of $1bn for subheads and surveillance of pipelines and additional request for $250m.
“The President gave approval to his request and approved the release of the sum of $1.2bn. And in May the sum of $1.2bn was then released from NNPC accounts.”
“ It was this fund that was disbursed to various recipients. The $40m was part of the $1.2bn statutorily approved and released for urgent national security intervention. I can confirm.”
Mkpe also admitted that the $40 million paid to Oneplus was not the only payment for security assignment from accounts of the NNPC, through the Office of the NSA under Col.Sambo Dasuki, (rtd)
Asked if he saw the memo from ONSA through which the payment of $40m was made to Oneplus account, Mkpe replied, “Yes, my lord. The payment was duly authorised by the NSA.”
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba later adjourned the case till January 22 and 23, 2018.
Andrew Orolua Abuja