A software developer, Eyo Bassey Francis has told the Federal High Court in Lagos how the sum of N769.5million was transferred in tranches to his account by the former Executive Director of Projects in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Tuoyo Omatsuli for doing nothing.
Francis, who is the first prosecution witness in Omatsuli’s money laundering trial, said the huge sum was not for any particular contract.
He said that he came in contact with Omatsuli in 2014 and told him that he ran an online platform, and that he did a lot of imports and was able to source for foreign currencies.
“He later called me on phone and told me that some money will be transferred to my account.
“I got initial sum of N80 million transferred into the Heritage Bank account of one of my companies, Asiladrrin Global Consulting Ltd.
“When the money was paid I converted it to dollars as directed by the first defendant (Omatsuli),” Francis said.
The witness said N340 million was also paid into his firm’s account in two tranches of N160 million and N180 million on Omatsuli’s instruction.
He said he also converted the money, which he said came from Starline Consultancy Services Ltd, into dollars and disbursed it as directed by Omatsuli.
“Sometimes in January 2015, I also got a call from the first defendant telling me that I will be getting a payment from a company known as Building Associates.
“I later got an inflow of N349, 650, 000 into the Heritage Bank account of my company, College-Pro Synergy Ltd.
“I was furnished with an account of a firm, Greenhouse Investment, owned by the Special Assistant on Finance to the then NDDC’s MD to which I transferred N100 million.
“The balance was converted to dollars as directed by Mr. Tuoyo,” the witness said.
Asked by prosecuting Counsel Mr Ekene Iheanacho if he executed any contracts for the companies from which funds were transferred to him, he said: “I never had any contract with Starline Consultancy Services Ltd or business relationship with it.
“I never had any contract with Building Associates.”
Under cross-examination by Omatsuli’s lawyer Prof Amuda Kehinde (SAN), the witness said he did not transfer any money to the first defendant’s account.
“I don’t have any documents on the instructions the first defendant gave me,” he said.
Francis said he did not know what the money sent to his accounts was meant to be used for.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Omatsuli for allegedly receiving N3.6billion bribe from a contractor, Starline Consultancy Services.
He was charged with Don Parker Properties Limited, Francis Momoh and Building Associates Limited before Justice Saliu Saidu on 45 counts.
EFCC said Omatsuli of procured Momoh and Building Associates to utilise a total sum of N3.6 billion paid by Starline Consultancy Services.
It accused Omatsuli of conspiring with the others “to disguise the illegal origin of a total sum of N3, 645,000,000, being proceeds of an unlawful activity, to wit: corruption and gratification.”
The alleged offence, which EFCC said was committed between August 2014 and September 2015, contravened Sections 15(1), 15(2), 15(3) and 18 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011, as amended by Act No 1 of 2012.
The defendants pleaded not guilty.
Justice Saliu Saidu adjourned until April 11 for continuation of trial.