Fraud trial: How ex-minister Tanimu Turaki’s wife refunded N75m – EFCC witness

The trial of Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, a former Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental affairs continued Wednesday before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court Abuja.

The twelfth prosecution witness, PW12, Bello Hamma’Adama narrated to the court how funds earmarked for sensitization of Muslim youths were redirected to the account of the first defendant ‘s wife who has so far refunded N75m.

Bello, an operative attached to the Chairman’s Monitoring Unit of the EFCC, while being led in evidence by M. S. Abubakar told the court that sometime in 2017, the EFCC received intelligence on the activities of the first defendant, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, a minister of special duties between 2013 and 2015 during which he also doubled as chairman Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North.

He told the court that the first defendant was profiled, leading to the discovery of the activities of the other defendants. Consequently, letters of investigation activities were written to relevant authorities, while documents received were analyzed.

While giving details of the findings, Bello told the court that N18bn was paid to the first defendant for constituency project by the National Assembly, adding that investigation further revealed that a sum of N359.1m was also paid into the account of the Ministry of Special duties for the sensitization of Muslims on the achievements of the then President but the money was disbursed suspiciously which led the EFCC to follow the trail.

The witness revealed that only N150m in tranches of N50m was paid to one Tahir Umar Tahir who was Senior Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Islamic Affairs. He said another N5Om was released to one Okunrinboye Titus who allegedly handed over the money to Samson Okeptu, the second defendant. He, in turn, transferred the N50m to Tahir who then paid N30m into an organization’s account and expended the balance of N20 in cash for the programme.

Bello further narrated to the court that when Tahir was asked why he had only N150m, he replied that only N150m was released to him.

Bello further revealed to the court that the balance of N159.1m from the account of Ministry of Special duties was transferred to different individuals with the narration of sensitization, including one Abdullahi Maigwandu Bagudu who got N45m, another Abdulrahman Yusuf got N50m, Samson Okpetu the second defendant got N20m and another got N30m.

The witness further told the Court that Maigwandu, who earns a monthly salary of N33, 000, had a credit entry of N1.76 billion in his account and the transactions came in tranches of N10 million or N5 million, adding that “we suspected money laundering, so we did cash work analysis, network analysis and realized that he cannot be the owner of the account. Every transaction in the account belonged to the first defendant who happens to be his brother.”

Bello also told the court Maigwandu transferred the sum of N20m to the wife of the first defendant Halima Kabiru Turaki, another N20m to a company and another N5m was withdrawn in China through an ATM to purchase furniture.

PW12 further told the Court that the wife of the first defendant, when she was invited, told the EFCC on record that “she is only a house wife and has never done any contract or carried out any sensitization exercise for Special Duties Ministry.

“All the transactions carried out by Maigwandu were at her instructions and she had so far refunded N75m”.

The trial has been adjourned to February 9 and 10, 2021 for continuation of hearing.

Turaki, his special assistant Sampson Okpetu and two companies: Samtee Essentials Limited and Pasco Investment Limited are standing trial on a 16 count change for fraud amounting to N714.6m.

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