The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, narrated before the Federal High Court in Abuja, how it traced diverted funds to account that was operated by erstwhile Senior Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe.

The anti-graft agency told the court that the fund totalling about 702million, was illegally released to Okupe by the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, on the pretence that it was for “Special Services”.

EFCC made the revelation on a day it called its star witness to testify against Okupe who is answering to a 59-count money laundering charge.

It alleged that the defendant perpetuated the fraud, using accounts of his two companies, Value Trust Investment Limited and Abrahams Telecoms Ltd.

In his Evidence-in-Chief, the first prosecution witness, PW-1, Mr. Osas Azonabor, who is an operative of the EFCC, told the court that sometime in 2016, the commission got intelligence that some individuals were paid by the ONSA for doing nothing.

He said it was in the course of the investigation that it was discovered that Okupe benefited from the largese.

The witness who was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Mr. Ibrahim Audu, told the court that EFCC, upon the discovery, wrote a letter to the ONSA, demanding for vouchers of the payments that were made to Okupe.

According to him, after analysing the payment vouchers, it was realised that cash payment of N50 million, was made into Okupe’s account, as stated in one of the vouchers dated April 8, 2014.

He said another cash payment of N6m was found to have also been made to Okupe on April 2, 2014.

The PW-1, explained that there were series of payment in multiples of N10 m that was made to Okupe between 2012 to 2014.

He said the investigation further disclosed that the N50m was paid into Zenith Bank account of Value Trust Investment Limited, a firm that has Okupe as its Director, adding that another N35m was paid into the account of Abraham Telecoms Nig Limited, which has Okupe as its signatory.

He said: “My lord, he told us that he was the Senior Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan from 2012 and was placed on a monthly salary of N835, 000, paid to him by the SGF.

“The defendant said he was paid N10 million monthly for 24 months by ONSA and that the money was reduced to N5m monthly from January 2015 to May 2015.

“He said the money was for special services and when asked to elaborate what he meant by ‘special services’, Okupe said part of the money was used to sponsor’Insight’, a programme on NTA.

“In the course of investigation, the defendant submitted a budget proposal by NTA to EFCC”.

The witness told the court that when a letter was written to the TV station to confirm the authenticity of the document, “NTA agreed that the document emanated from them”.

“We also got a follow-up letter from the NTA that the programme, ‘Insight’, was later aired free-of-charge as directed by the then Director General of NTA who accepted the programme as part of the station’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)”, the witness added

Besides, he told the court that though Okupe claimed that part of the money collected from ONSA was used to pay workers, he said when asked to show proof of payment he only brought a list of names on a piece of paper.

“There was no payment voucher, receipt or pay slip to show evidence of payment, and when we asked him to produce staff he paid to, he couldn’t produce any”, Azonabor said.

Meantime, the court admitted into evidence, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) documents on the two firms that were linked to Okupe, as well as a letter of response from ONSA to the EFCC Acting Chairman.

Also admitted into evidence by trial Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, were statements the defendant made before the EFCC.

The court had on January 14, granted the defendant bail to the tune of N100 million with one surety in like sum, after he pleaded not guilty to allegations EFCC levelled against him.

Two of the counts in the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/222/2018, read: “That you Dr. Doyin Okupe, being the Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan from July 2012 to May 2015, and the Managing Director/Chief Executive Office (MD/CEO) and a signatory to the Zenith Bank Account of Value Trust Investment Limited, on or about 3rd of August, 2012 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, directly took possession or control of the sum of N50, 000, 000. 00 (Fifty Million Naira) only, transferred to the account of Value Trust Investment Ltd with Zenith Bank PLC Account Number 1012645065 from the account of the office of the National Security Adviser with the Central Bank of Nigeria, purporting to be for special services, when you reasonably ought to have known that the said fund formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity of Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) the then National Security Adviser [ to wit: criminal breach of trust and corruption] and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011, as amended, and punishable under section 15(3) and (4) of the same Act.

“That you Dr. Doyin Okupe, being the Senior Special Assistant to President Ggodluck Jonathan from July 2012 to May 2015, and the Managing Director/Chief Executive Office (MD/CEO) and a signatory to the Zenith Bank Account of Abrahams Telecoms Ltd on or about the 3rd October 2014 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, directly took possession or control of the sum of N35, 000, 000.00 (Thirty Five Million) only, transferred to the account of Abrahams Telecoms Ltd with Zenith Bank Plc, Account Number 1013150265 from the account of the from the account of the office of the National Security Adviser with the Central Bank of Nigeria, purporting to be for special services, when you reasonably ought to have known that the said fund formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity of Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) the then National Security Adviser [ to wit: criminal breach of trust and corruption] and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011, as amended, and punishable under section 15(3) and (4) of the same Act”.

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