In the case of diversion of N1.162bn Ecological Funds against a former Governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye, one of the detectives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Musa Sunday, revealed to a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Gudu, how the funds were shared.
Dariye is being prosecuted for diverting Plateau state’s Ecological Funds while serving as governor between 1997 and 2003.
Under cross-examination by Dariye’s lawyer, Garba Pwul, on Tuesday, the EFCC witness testified that Dariye disbursed the N1.16bn to his political associates and officials of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, in Plateau State.
Sunday revealed that his team’s investigations revealed that the ex-governor gave N100m traced to a company – Marine Float Nigeria Limited owned by former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar.
“The Ecological Fund Office is under the Presidency but the Office of the Vice-President oversees it and the vice-president chairs the agency’s activities. The vice-president at that time was Alhaji Abubakar Atiku”
He also said N100m was traced to the South-West PDP, which was received by then Minister of Special Duties, Yomi Edu, N80m to then Permanent Secretary of the Ecological Fund Office in the Presidency, Kingsley Nkoma; N10m to a former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, N6.8m to the PDP Plateau State and N66m to 274 PDP wards in the state.
“In the course of investigation, Marine Float was found to be a company owned by the former Vice-President, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku. As at when the money was paid, the Vice- President was the Chairman of Ecological Fund Office,” the witness said.
“The N80m paid in favour of Union Savings and Loan, was traced to Kingsley Nkoma, Permanent Secretary of Ecological Fund Office. We recovered the N80m from Nkoma, who said that was his share for facilitating the release of the money. That was the bribe he collected.
“Investigation proved, while he was invited, that the N80m paid to him through Union Savings and Loan was a bribe money paid to him by the defendant. The money was recovered from him. The N80m registered from Nkoma is registered as exhibit and it is with the EFCC. When we invited him, Nkoma said that that was his share of the money and he was made to return it.”
Furthermore, the witness revealed that Dariye made his banker, All States Trust Bank, to conceal his identity, with a mandate card for the account being operated by a firm linked to Dariye – Ebenezer Ritnan Venture.
He said they were able to uncover the company’s true ownership by Dariye’s signature on the mandate form while adding that the former governor diverted his share of the N1.162bn into the company’s account.
The witness said the bank and its officials have been convicted by a Federal High Court in Kaduna for aiding fraud- by allowing Dariye to not include his photograph in the account opening documents,
After listening to the account of the first witness in the case, trial judge, Justice Adebukola Banjoko, adjourned further hearing till noon on Wednesday, February 3.