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$40 Allegd Fraud: The Money Wasn’t Misappropriated – Azibaola


Cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Robert Azibaola, who is standing trial over alleged fraud to the tune of $40m, Tuesday, told a Federal High Court in Abuja that the said sum, which he received from the detained former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), was put into proper use it was meant for
Under cross examination from the prosecution counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, Azibaola confessed to collecting the money from the office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), but denied that the money was converted to personal use.
He said the money was for special assignment meant to assauge the security risk of the Niger Delta region of the country at that time and it was used for that.
Azibaola and his wife were first charged in 2016 alongside their company, One Plus Holdings Nigeria Limited on a nine-count criminal charge.
They were alleged to have received $40m from Dasuki without a valid contract.
However, the court in 2018 struck out seven out of the nine-count criminal charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, preferred against them.
The court, in a ruling that was delivered by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, also discharged and acquitted Aziboala’s wife, Stella, of all allegations levelled against her in the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/ 113/2016.
Justice Dimgba said he was satisfied that going by the proof of evidence the anti-graft agency adduced before the court, the 1st defendant, Aziboala and his firm, One Plus Holdings Nigeria Limited, had no case to answer with respect to the seven-count charge that was struck out. However, the court, ordered Azibaola and his firm to open their defence to counts two and three of the charge which borders on allegation that they received $40m contract from Dasuki,
The EFCC had in the two charges that were sustained by the court, alleged that Aziboala had while being the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) and a signatory to the Zenith Bank account of One Plus Holdings Nig Ltd, on or about September 8, 2014, took possession and converted the $39, 999, 958 out of the $40m, and transferred same to the domiciliary account of One Plus Holdings Nig Ltd with Zenith Bank Plc Account No. 5070365750.
Under cross examination yesterday, Azibaola rebuffed EFCC allegations that the money was siphoned using One-Plus as a conduct pipe.
Though, he confessed that money was paid into the company’s account without a formal contact, Azibaola said the money was for a “discreet security assignment” at the Niger Delta which would not had gone through normal bidding process. “Yes, there was no formal contract with the Office of the National Security Adviser. It was for. assignment,” he said on why the purpose the money was paid.
On the number of people or militants who benefitted from the money, Azibaola said they were over 10,000 beneficiaries. He stated further that the list of beneficiaries was not recorded because the NSA did not demand any and been a discreet in nature it was impossible to keep the list or give out receipts for payments.
Azibaola stated that payment to the beneficiaries was negotiated according to the capacity of each of the beneficiaries.
When reminded that from document from ONSA the money was said to be for the supply of “tactical communication equipment” , Azibaola said “it may mean something else in military parlance
“I put it to you that you diverted money meant to supply tactical communication equipment”, Tahir said, but Azibaola refuted: “I categorical denied that my Lord”
Again, Tahir said: “the money paid into other companies from One-Plus account was ‘dash’ and your company was a conduct pipe to siphone $40m to the benefit of the company and friends”, Azibaola said it was not.
He, again, denied the allegation.
“I undertook highly classified security assignment for the country. My testimony has caused ripples in the security circle. I have been receiving calls because of my testimony here,” Azibaola said.
The court adjourned to Feb. 6.

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