An EFCC witness, Mr Ishaq Salihu’ on Thursday told an FCT High Court how millions of naira approved for stationeries by former Taraba governor, Jolly Nyame, was misappropriated.
Salihu, an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), who investigated the alleged N1.64 billion fraud, said that N470 was released for stationeries in 2005.
He said that N250 million was first approved by Nyame on Dec.30, 2004 upon request made by the Commissioner for Finance, Abubakar Tutare, on Dec.28, 2004.
The witness said the purchase of these bulk stationeries and office equipment for Taraba ministries and parastatals was supposed to be by “direct labour’’as stipulated by Tutare.
He said the `direct labour’ consisted of a committee of civil servants and auditors who were to make the purchases directly from the market to cut cost and not through contract.
Instead, the money was paid into Salman Global Ventures account owned by Ibrahim Abubakar, a third party and friend of Nyame.
“A third party that neither bidded, applied nor requested for the purchase of stationeries issued a receipt of payment of N250 million which he supplied nothing.
“The money was lodged in Pacific bank in fixed deposit and it yielded an interest of N1.6 million ,’’ Salihu said.
He said in February, 2005, another N200 million was released for the purchase of stationeries again.
Salihu told the court that out of this figure, N165 million was paid into the account of Salman Global, N16 million was used for the purchase of stationeries from one Babangaru.
He also said that N15 million was given to the Deputy Speaker, Taraba House of Assembly, two million naira went to the Permanent Secretary and N10 million to the Commissioner for Finance.
He said the rest was shared to the staff of the Ministry of Finance who all testified to that and recoveries were initiated and part of the monies returned to the EFCC.
The witness said ion Oct 5, 2005, the Secretary to the State Government again applied for the purchase of stationeries for his office which was in lack and N20 million was approved.
During cross examination, by Hassan Fajimiti, Counsel to the defence, Salihu told the court that Salman Global was as elusive as air and could not be reach during investigation.
Justice Adebukola Banjoko adjourned the matter till Oct.19