At Federal High Court sitting in Abuja The Prosecution Witness 1 in the ongoing trial of a cousin of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Azibaola Roberts, over alleged $40 million money laundering, yesterday told the Court that,
the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), instructed him to prepare the payment mandate in favour of One Plus Limited. The Federal Govern- ment is prosecuting Roberts, alongside his wife, Stella, on a seven-count charge bordering on money laundering.
The witness, Ibrahim Maye Maye, told the court that Dasuki had endorsed a memo to him with details of the company’s account, adding that the memo was sent to him in his capacity as the Permanent Secretary, Special Service Office, a department in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
According to him, “On August 20, 2014, the NSA endorsed a memo to me which originated from the Director of Finance and Administration in the office of the NSA, giving bank details of a company called One Plus
“The memo also gave details of the purpose for which the company was to be paid the sum of $40 million. “The NSA instructed me to prepare payment and my understanding of that was that I should prepare the payment mandate for One Plus for his signature. “After I got the memo, I prepared the payment mandate, sent it to him, he signed and sent it back to me.
“The subsequent necessary action was for me to counter sign, which I did and I sent it to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for payment.”
Earlier, counsel to Roberts, Chris Uche (SAN) had urged the court for a short adjournment on the ground that he has not had ample time to meet with his client since he was granted bail to prepare his defence.
He told the court that when bail was granted, he had had difficulties in perfecting the bail conditions, adding that the conditions were only perfected last week.
He, however, requested for more time to prepare his defence because there were some documents that he needed to subpoena from the office of the NSA.
Uche also hinged his prayer for adjournment on his indisposition. Opposing the application, prosecuting counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, told the court that they had a witness already in court who was stopped from going on Lesser Hajj on account of the trial.
Tahir said that they had prevailed on the witness to postpone his trip and not allowing him to give his testimony would amount to a waste of effort. On the issue of indisposition, Tahir submitted that the defence had about 19 other lawyers on the team and so even without the lead counsel, trial could commence.
The trial judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba dismissed the defence application and ordered that trial should commence since the defence had sufficient time to prepare. He later adjourned the case till July 4 and 5 for continuation of trial.