former Head of Service, Mr. Stephen Oronsaye

Destiny Ugorji
Lead defence counsel in the on-going trial of Nigeria’s former Head of Service, Mr. Stephen Oronsaye, before Justice Olasumbo Goodluck of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja, Kanu Agabi (SAN), Thursday, took on the 6th Prosecution witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission -EFCC, Bello Hammadhama in cross-examination.

Agabi, who raised questions from the Witness’ earlier testimony in the Court hopes to continue with the cross examination on the next adjourned date, after asking about ten questions that shook the Court.

Responding to one of the questions, the 6th Prosecution Witness denied knowledge of any suspicious transactions by the Presidential Committee on the Financial Action Task Force, chaired by Mr. Oronsaye, prior to a Petition sent to the Commission. He however said the accused was not given any copy of the Petition that was written against him.

“We only showed him a copy of the Petition. It is not a standard practise to release a copy to suspects. Documents in our case files are not given to defendants. EFCC, ICPC and the Police were represented on the Presidential Committee on the Financial Action Task Force-FATF. I am not aware of any suspicion, prior to the Petition sent to us, which we investigated. I am also not privy to the intelligence report submitted to the EFCC.”

Responding to a question on the official account of the FATF Committee, he said:
“I never said the Committee had two accounts. It is our case that the defendant maintained one account in Access Bank as sole signatory. The account approved by the Accountant General of the Federation is that of Zenith Bank. The Access Bank account is not a normal one.”
When questioned on why he described the Access Bank account as not normal, he argued that the Zenith Bank Account got the nod of the Accountant General of the Federation, while that of Access Bank did not. He however did not provide any evidence to substantiate his claims.

When asked whether it is a rule of the government that all accounts must be authorized by the Accountant General of the Federation, he declined to answer, but preferred to refer the Court to a letter allegedly written by the Accountant General’s office, claiming knowledge of the Zenith Bank account of the FATF Committee.

The case was adjourned to the 15th and 16th of November, 2016.
It would be recalled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC in March, 2016, dragged Nigeria’s former Head of Service, Stephen Oronsaye before Justice O.O. Goodluck of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, sitting in Maitama, Abuja on charges bothering on alleged breach of trust while in office as Chairman, Presidential Committee on the Financial Action Taskforce.

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