2014 NIS Recruitment Tragedy: Witnesses Reveal How Money Was Shared

Two prosecution witnesses in the ongoing trial of former Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, over the 2013 Nigerian Immigration Service recruitment tragedy in which 16 people lost their lives and many others injured, had told a Federal High Court, Abuja, how the money realised from the exercise was shared.
Moro alongside a former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Interior, Anastasia Daniel-Nwobia; a Deputy Director in the Ministry, Felix Alayebami; and Drexel Tech Nigeria Limited are standing trial on an 11-count charge bordering on procurement fraud and money laundering.
The first witness Bilikisu Mohammed, a Relationship Manager with Keystone Bank, IBB Way, Maitama, who testified as PW6, revealed to the court how monies received by Drexel Tech Nigeria Limited were transferred to various accounts.
“The account (Drexel Tech Nigeria Limited) was opened on 19th August, 2013 as a corporate account with two signatories – William Butau and Ahmadu Mahmoud, who is the CEO of the company.
“The first transaction in September 2013 was N20,000 for legal fees. Subsequently, there were two major inflows into the account.
“The first was N462,370,000 in October 2013. This money was put in a fixed deposit. The second was about N111, 967,200.00 in November 2013.
“From these, there were three major transfers to one Sofiano Ali’s account as follows: N33, 800,000; N33, 700,000 and N33, 700,000.
“The fixed deposit was liquidated sometime in January 2014 and instructions were received to transfer funds into four accounts, Oak Global – N66, 250,000; Africano Global – 4,000,000; Crown Medics – N120, 100,000 and one Chichi Habiba Abba Gana – about N202, 500,000.
“A transfer instruction also came in February 2014 to transfer N28, 500,000 to Mikano,” she said.
In support of the claim, documents including correspondence between the EFCC and Keystone Bank, Account opening packages for Drexel Tech Global Limited, Mikano, Crown Medics, Sofiano Ali, as well as, documents of various transfer instructions from Drexel Tech Global Limited to Keystone Bank were tendered by the prosecution and admitted as Exhibits AAFD 35 – 43.
Another witness, Augustine Ugorji, a former Head of Finance, Pay4Me Services Nigeria Limited, an e-commerce company, had narrated to the court how Drexel Tech Nigeria Limited engaged Pay4Me Services Nigeria Limited to provide a payment platform for the collection and online management of payment activities through designated banks for the ill-fated recruitment exercise.
According to Ugorji, “The process of Pay4Me is that the applicant goes through the website of the client, in this case, the Ministry of Interior, completes the form and is redirected to the payment platform where he or she is given the option to pay either through their banks or their card.”
He stated further: “Eight banks – Union bank, United Bank for Africa, Diamond Bank, Zenith Bank, Sterling Bank, EcoBank, Enterprise Bank, and Interswitch – participated.
“Pay4Me has the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc., NIBSS, as a partner. The role of NIBSS was to act as a central switch through which banks do their clearing. 675,675 applicants made their payments through our platform.
“The agreement between Drexel and the Ministry of Interior was for each applicant to pay N1000. The agreement was for Drexel to pay Pay4Me N150 per applicant. From the N150, Pay4Me agreed to pay the bank N70 per applicant, leaving N80 for Pay4Me. The balance of N850 goes to Drexel”.
Giving details of remittances by each of the banks, Ugorji stated that, Zenith Bank remitted N22,425,390.00; Sterling Bank – N38,013,420.00; United Bank for Africa, UBA, – N190,187,416; Diamond Bank – N114,616,260.00; Union Bank – N133,862,010.00; Fidelity Bank – N58,175,670.00; Enterprise Bank – N12,527,100.00; EcoBank – N48,146,870.00 and Card Payments: N10,879,115.00.”
He added that two tranches of remittance were made to Drexel through their Keystone Bank account.
Accordingly, six documents including the witness’ statement given at the EFCC, appointment letter from Drexel Tech Nigeria Limited to Pay4Me Services Nigeria Limited, Pay4Me’s CBN license, as well as Master Service Agreements between Pay4Me and participating banks, were also tendered by prosecution counsel, Aliyu Yusuf, and admitted as exhibits AAFD 29 – 34.
He said from the N1,000 paid by each applicant, Pay4me was paid N150 out of which N70 went to the receiving bank.
He said, “The agreement between Drexel and Ministry of Interior was for each applicant to pay N1,000 and Drexel agreed to pay Payforme N150 from the N1,000.
“From the N150, Pay4me was paid N80 and and N70 to the banks.
“The balance of N850 went to Drexel
“The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System, where banks do their clearing, was paid by Pay4me in line with an agreement.
“We had 675,675 that made payment through our platform.”
He said after the banks deducted their N70 commission from the N1,000 paid by each of the applicants, the following amounts were remitted by each of the banks
The matter was adjourned till November 7 and 8 for continuation of trial.

Author: News Editor

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