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Dasuki authorised payment of $40m to Roberts’ firm, says witness

The First Prosecution Witness (PW1) in the trial of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s
cousin, Roberts Azibola, yesterday, told a Federal High Court, Abuja, how he was instructed to pay $40 million into the first defendant’s account. A retired Permanent Secretary, Special Service Office, in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Ibrahim Maye, said the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd) instructed him to prepare a payment mandate for the sum of $40 million in favour of Roberts’ company, One Plus Limited.
In another development, trial of a former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, over alleged money laundering continued yesterday at the Federal High Court, Abuja with another prosecution witness, Mustapha Yerima, testifying against him.Roberts and his wife, Stella, were arraigned on June 8 on a seven-count charge bordering on money laundering totaling about $40 million.Maye further told the court that Dasuki had endorsed a memo to him with details of the company’s account.
His words: “On August 20, 2014, the NSA endorsed a memo to me which originated from the Director of Finance and Administration in the office of the NSA, giving bank details of a company called One Plus Limited.
“The memo also gave details of the purpose for which the company was to be paid the sum of $40 million. “The NSA instructed me to prepare payment and my understanding of that was that I should prepare the payment mandate for One Plus Limited for his signature.”
He added: “After I got the memo, I prepared the payment mandate, sent it to him, he signed and sent it back to me. “The subsequent necessary action was for me to counter sign, which I did and I sent it to the CBN for payment,” Maye said.
At the resumed hearing, the lead Defence Counsel, Mr. Chris Uche (SAN) had asked the court for a short adjournment.Uche’s request for an adjournment hinged on the fact that he was yet to adequately meet with his client in preparation for defence since he was granted bail.
He added that when bail was granted his client, his team had difficulties in perfecting the bail conditions and were able to perfect the bail conditions only last week.
He therefore prayed the court for an adjournment on the ground that his team needed more time to prepare its defence as there were some documents that needed to subpoena from the office of the NSA.
Uche also sighted indisposition as one of the reasons his team was asking for an adjournment.The prosecuting counsel, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, however, objected to the application on the grounds that they had a witness already in court who was stopped from going on lesser Hajj on account of the trial.
Tahir stated that they had prevailed on the witness to postpone his trip and as such, preventing him from giving his testimony would amount to a waste of effort.On the issue of indisposition, Tahir said the defence had about 19 other lawyers on the team and as such, even without the lead counsel, trial could commence.
In his ruling on the issue, the trial Judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, upheld the prosecution’s argument that trial should begin since the defence team had sufficient time to prepare.
He consequently adjourned the case till July 4 and 5 for continuation of trial.At the resumed hearing, Yerima, who had earlier testified as Prosecution Witness Four (PW4), told the court how the first prosecution witness, Air Commodore Salisu Abdullahi Yushau (rtd) had invited him over to the Defence House, after his retirement to coordinate the handover of documents and discuss progress on the construction of a shopping complex.
He said: “In my evidence-in-chief, I testified that PW1 (Yushau) called a meeting after he had retired from the Nigerian Air Force.“The meeting held at the Defence House and we discussed progress of work in the plaza. Barrister Timothy Muje and Barrister Umar were in attendance. I had met Umar once or twice before that meeting but there isn’t much familiarity between us.
“It was after this that Barrister Muje called and asked that we both meet somewhere at Wuse II. This was the same day the EFCC invited me to their office.
Muje handed some documents over to me but failed to give me (Ryte Builders) the power of attorney which I asked him for”, Yerima said.
Under cross-examination however, Yerima insisted that he was instructed by Yushau to claim the said property when operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) began to investigate the matter.
“The idea that was conveyed to me by PW1 after their meeting was for me to go and claim the property as instructed”, Yerima insisted.The matter was adjourned till today for continuation of trial.

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