Okupe received N702m from ONSA for doing nothing–Witness
NEWS DIGEST–The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday narrated to Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, how former Senior Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe, allegedly collected the sum of N702m from the Office of the National Security Adviser for doing nothing.
Okupe was arraigned on a 59-count charge bordering on money laundering and criminal diversion of funds to the tune of N702m.
The first prosecution witness, Osas Azonabor, an operative of the commission, while being led in evidence by the EFCC Counsel, Ibrahim Audu, told the court that sometime in 2016, the agency got an intelligence report that some individuals were paid by the ONSA for doing nothing.
He said when investigations began, it was discovered that the first defendant, Okupe, was one of the beneficiaries.
Azonabor told the court that the EFCC wrote to the ONSA, demanding the vouchers of the payments made to Okupe.
According to him, after analysing the payment vouchers, it was realised that the sum of N50m was paid into Okupe’s account, as stated in a voucher dated April 8, 2014.
He also said another cash payment of N6m was found to have been made to Okupe on April 2, 2014, adding that there were series of payments in multiples of N10m made to the defendant between 2012 and 2014.
The witness further told the court that EFCC’s investigation found that N50m was paid into the Zenith Bank account of Value Trust Investment Ltd, a company in which Okupe is a director. He added that another N35m was paid into the account of Abraham Telecoms Nig. Ltd. to which Okupe is a signatory.
Azonabor said, “Okupe said he was paid N10m monthly for 24 months by ONSA and the money was reduced to N5m monthly from January 2015 to May 2015.
“He said the money was for special services. When asked to explain what he meant by ‘special services’, he said that part of the money was used to sponsor ‘Insight’, a programme aired on NTA.”
The witness explained that when a letter was written to NTA to confirm the authenticity of the document that emanated from the station, it said the programme was aired free-of-charge.
The EFCC operative further informed the court that Okupe claimed that part of the money collected from ONSA was used to pay workers. “But when asked to show proof of payment, he simply tendered 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 the staff he paid to, he couldn’t produce any”, Azonabor said.
The acting EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade, in a statement, said that the Corporate Affairs Commission documents of the Value Trust Investment Ltd and Abraham Telecoms Nig Ltd, and a letter of response from ONSA to the EFCC Acting Chairman and statements of the defendants were all admitted in evidence.
The Judge adjourned the case to February 28 (today) for cross examination and presentation of other witnesses.