N4.6bn fraud: Why we didn’t invite Jonathan – EFCC

The Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday heard why the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) did not invite former President Goodluck Jonathan over the N4.6 billion allegedly transferred illegally into the bank account of a firm, Joint Trust, used to finance his 2015 presidential campaign.

The money is the subject of the criminal trial of a former Finance Minister, Mrs. Nenadi Usman, a former Aviation Minister Femi Fani-Kayode, and two others over money laundering and fraud-related allegations.

The trial, which resumed before Justice Daniel Osiagor, featured the cross-examination of an EFCC Investigating Officer, Shehu Shuaibu, by Mr. Ferdinand Orbih (SAN), counsel to the first defendant (Usman).

During cross-examination by Orbih, the witness said his team, from the EFCC’s Special Task Force, did not invite Dr. Jonathan throughout the investigation.

He said Usman was the Director of Finance to President Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation, while second defendant, Fani-Kayode, was the Director of Media and Publicity of the organisation.

Asked why he did not invite the ex-President to confirm or deny whether the money paid into the Joint Trust account was expended for his campaign or not, as claimed by the defendants, Shuaibu said: “We did not invite him since the President was not the one that expended the money.”

When asked why those who transferred money into Joint Trust’s account were arrested and prosecuted, he said: “To the best of my knowledge, I do not know whether those that transferred money into the Joint Trust Account were charged to court or not.

“I am not a lawyer, and would not know why they have not been charged before the court.”

The witness also said the money was paid from the State House to another account before it was transferred to the Joint Trust account.

He said the money was paid by the Permanent Secretary in the State House, Nebolisa Emodi, adding that he was invited for interrogation by his team but not charged to court.

When the witness was asked to name those who stole the money the defendants are being prosecuted for, the witness said he did not investigate the defendants for stealing, hence he would not know if they stole the money or not.

Orbih confronted the witness with a Certified True Copy (CTC) of the proceedings before Justice Rilwanu Aikawa, who heard the case before he was transferred out of Lagos.

The lawyer showed the witness where it was stated in the CTC that he said the money was stolen.

But the witness disputed the accuracy of the record.

Justice Osiagor adjourned till today for continuation of trial.

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