A prosection witness, Omale Musa in the trial of Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia over allegations of corruption, yesterday told a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) paid N12 million into Nigel and Colive Limited, being her corporate bank account.
Musa, led in evidence by prosecution Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo said the N12 million deposit was made on July 11, 2014 under the instructions of the then Comptroller General of the Customs, Abdullahi Inde Dikko.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had slammed Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia with a 26-count charge of unlawful enrichment, corruption by a public officer, forgery and giving of false information to an official of the anti-graft agency.
She however, pleaded not guilty to all the charges before Justice Hakeem Oshodi. However, at the resumed hearing yesterday, Musa, who is an Assistant Comptroller of Customs, told court that, “In the course of my duty in 2014, the Deputy Comptroller General that I worked with directly, Musa Tahir came from Dikko’s office and gave me the account number of Nigel and Colive Limited.
“He told me that Dikko said that we should liaise with the 12 commands of the customs service, stating that each command should pay N1 million into my bank account.”
He further narrated to the court that Tahir told him that when he receives the money, he should transfer the whole sum into Nigel and Colive Limited’s account.
“The instructions were carried out as directed and on July 11, 2014, the N12 million was paid in three trenches of N3 million, N4 million and N5 million into Nigel and Colive Limited’ account. No services were tendered by our command to warrant the payment of the funds into the account.”
Musa also said that when he was invited by the commission, he was tempted to give a false statement to the anti-graft agency, adding: “I was initially trying to protect myself, stating that I did not know anything about the money but at a point, something was telling me, ‘when did you become a liar, do you not know your upbringing?’
“At that point, I retracted my statement and I revealed all that transpired in the course of that transaction.” Under cross-examination by Counsel to Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia, Robert Clarke (SAN), the witness said he did not know the use of the N12 million he transferred.
When asked whether in the face of the statement of account, it show any reason for transferring the money, Musa responded: “The statement of account I have does not reveal any reasons for the transaction.
“I was instructed by my bosses to do the transaction and I am not trained to ask questions. It was my conscience that told me to tell the truth. I was not harassed, coerced or intimidated by the EFCC to give my statements.”
Another prosecution witness, Robertson Emafidon also gave details of the N5 million, which was transferred from Obla’s United Bank of Africa (UBA) account into the Judge’s account.
Emafidon, the Head of Regulatory Liaison at UBA, said: “I don’t know the purpose of the transfers, I was not personally involved in any of these transactions and I was not in any of the branches where the transactions occurred.” The presiding Judge adjourned the trial till May 26, 2017.