A prosecution witness, Mr. Michael Wetkas, in the ongoing trial of the former governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido and sons, on Wednesday, gave detail transactions on how Lamido secretly covered his tracks with fake sub-contract awards that enable him laundered N1.3 billion state funds.
Wetkas, who was led in evidence by the prosecution Counsel, Chile Okoroma, stated that the total sums laundered were paid from Jigawa State treasury into Dantata and Sawoe’s accounts in Access Bank, Zenith Bank and Sterling Bank in ten tranches.
He further told the court that three of Lamido’s companies – Gada Construction Company, Bamaina Company Nigeria Limited and Speed International Limited, were purportedly awarded sub-contracts by Dantata & Sawoe from which the purported sum paid to Dantata & Sawoe were retrieved.
He added that all the cheques raised in favour of the three companies were lodged in Bamaina Holding Company’s two separate accounts with Unity Bank, of which Lamido was sole signatory; and Access Bank account to which the third defendant (Mustapha Lamido) was sole signatory.
Giving details of some of the transactions, Wetkas, who was reading from bank statements, stated that on December 16, 2008, N14.8 million; July 13, 2009, N386 million; December 11, 2009, N55.9 million; December 18, 2009, N583 million and February 6, 2013, N206 million were paid into Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company three bank accounts from Jigawa state government.
He added that the following transactions – February 26, 2013, N36 million, June 4, 2013, N194 million, June 7, 2013, N243 million, August 12, 2013, N140 million and same August 12, 2013, N148 million, were also paid from Jigawa State treasury into Dantata & Sawoe’s Sterling Bank account.
Wetkas explained that these payments were later retrieved from Dantata & Sawoe through purported subcontracts awarded to Gada, Speed and Bamaina companies.
The witness said that about 250 payment vouchers which were already in evidence as exhibits, are the channels through which the defendants retrieved the money.
He said that EFCC verification team that visited Dantata and Sawoe, Kano yard, found that the supply contracts which the three companies claimed they received the payments were non-existence. “There was no such contracts ever” he said.
At a point during the revelations, the defence counsel, Mr. Joe Agbi (SAN), objected to the witness reading the facts as contained in Dantata and Sawoe bank statement. The defence counsel said they did not deny receiving the payments but was opposed to detailing the evidence in oral form, stressing that such was against Section 125 of the Evidence Act.
But in his brief ruling, the trial Judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, said that in the interest of justice, the witness should continue his evidence.
The court has been adjourned till today for continuation of trial.