An investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Adamu Usman Yusuf, has disclosed that the contract leading to the trial of a former Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Tuoyo Omatsuli, was genuine.
He told Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court in Lagos that the authenticity of the contract was confirmed by the NDDC in its response to an enquiry sent to it by the anti-graft agency.
Yusuf made the disclosure while testifying in the on-going trial of Omatsuli and three others over alleged N3.6bn fraud.
The EFCC investigator had earlier in his examination-in-chief told the court that investigations by his team revealed that about N12bn was paid to a firm known as Starline Consultancy Services, which was engaged by the NDDC to recover three per cent statutory allocation from oil and gas companies operating in the Niger Delta.
He said a document received from the NDDC revealed that Starline was paid 10 per cent of the money recovered as its commission.
However, while being cross-examined by Omatsuli’s lawyer, Prof Amuda Kannike (SAN), the witness was asked to throw more light on the contents of the NDDC’s document on the contract that led to the charge filed against Omatsuli.
Responding, the witness said, “NDDC’s response to our request for the award of contract to Starline Consultancy Services said that the contract was genuine.
“The House Committee on NDDC also played a crucial role by performing their oversight function in the execution of the contract.”
Further hearing in the trial has been adjourned until June 8, 2020.
The anti-graft agency had on Monday re-arraigned Omatsuli alongside Don Parker Properties Ltd, Francis Momoh and Building Associates Ltd before Justice Saidu on a 52-count amended charge of alleged N3.6bn fraud.
In the charge, Omatsuli was said to have procured the third and fourth accused (Momoh and Building Associates) to utilise a total sum of N3.6bn paid by Starline Consultancy Services Ltd into an account operated by fourth accused.
The prosecution said that they ought to have known that the said sums formed part of the proceeds of their unlawful activities including corruption and gratification.
The offences, which were allegedly committed between August 2014 and September 2015, were said to have contravened the provisions of Sections 15(1), 15(2), 15(3) and 18 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011, as amended by Act No 1 of 2012.