The trial of former Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Abdu Bulama, continued Monday, before Justice Hammada Dashen of the Federal High Court, sitting in Damaturu, Yobe State, with the testimony of two prosecution witnesses, who shed light into how money was shared among politicians in Yobe state.
Bulama is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on a seven-count charge, bordering on criminal conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of N450m.
He is facing trial alongside Mohammed Kadai, a former Yobe State commissioner for Intergraded and Rural Development, Abba Gana Tata; Dr. Muhammad Mamu and Hassan Ibn Jaks.
Prosecution Witness Four, Dr. Mairo Ahmad Amshi, who is a farmer and a house wife while being led in evidence by prosecution counsel Mukhtar Ali Ahmad, informed the court that on March 27, 2016, they received a list of 2015 Presidential and Senatorial Election Committee members for disbursement of funds for Jakusko Local Government Area, Zone C.
“I received a note authorizing the committee to collect cash from First Bank, Gashuwa Branch and a template given by Hassan Ibn Jaks in the presence of Dr. Lawal Yarima Ngama and Alhaji Sani Elkatuso for the disbursement of the fund.”
She further stated that, First Bank, Gashuwa Branch, released to them the cash sum of N32m after the authority letter was presented to bank. “The said fund was taken to Jakusko for disbursement in line with the template given by the Jakusko LGA committee on funds disbursement,” Mairo said.
According to her: “I presented the template to the operatives of Maiduguri Zonal Office (EFCC) and how the funds were disbursed, duly signed by beneficiaries for the 2015 Presidential and Senatorial elections.”
During cross-examination, Dr. Mairo answered in the affirmative that, the template was prepared by three people comprising Dr. Yarima Lawal Ngama, Alhaji Sani Elkatuso and the fifth defendant, Alhaji Hassan Ibn Jaks.
Prosecution Witness Five, Salisu Muhammad Rabiu, an EFCC operative, attached to Advance Fee Fraud and Extractive Industries Fraud Unit, while being led in evidence, narrated how an intelligence report in form of a memo was assigned to his team for discreet investigation.
The intelligence was that, former minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke warehoused the sum of $115m equivalent of N23.33bn in Fidelity Bank.
“The sum of N450m was made available to Bulama and Kadai by Fidelity Bank, Damaturu Branch, and they signed and collected the said sum for disbursement during the 2015 Presidential and Senatorial Election for Yobe State.
“Subsequently, the second defendant made cash payment of N85m to the senatorial candidate, Abba Gana Tata (fourth defendant) for Zone A. Zone B, represented by Dr. Mamu collected N73.54m on the instruction of the senatorial candidate of Zone C Dr. Yarima Ngama.
Hassan Ibn Jaks (fifth defendant) received the cash sum of over N70,” Rabiu said.
The witness further informed the court that all the monies were handed over to the third, fourth and fifth defendants by the second defendant for disbursement with a template.
According to Rabiu, “based on the interview conducted by the first and second defendants, the third, fourth and the fifth defendants were invited and their statements were recorded.”
Counsels to the first, second, third, fourth and fifth defendants objected to the admissibility of a response of a withdrawal instrument letter from Fidelity Bank to EFCC on the grounds that the documents did not fulfil the requirement of Section 102(1) of the Evidence Act 2011.
After listening to the reply of the prosecution counsel, Justice Dashen adjourned the matter to June 27, 2019 for ruling and continuation of trial.