Ngozika Ihuoma, a defence witness called to testify by the chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, conceded on Friday that his claims of alleged mismanagement of recovered assets by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were not backed with any documentary evidence.
Mr Ihuoma, the first defence witness to testify for Mr Maina, who is being prosecuted before the Federal High Court in Abuja for laundering N2billion, made the concession under cross-examination by EFCC’s lawyer, Mohammed Abubakar.
Mr Ihuoma testified in his evidence-in-chief on Thursday that the anti-graft agency mismanaged 222 assets handed over to it by the Mr Maina-led PRTT.
He had also credited the PRTT with the recovery of funds that were used to fund the 2012 budgets, and that Mr Maina had also provided intelligence that helped the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to recover about N1.3 trillion in looted funds.
The witness who owned Crincad & Cari Nigeria Ltd said to have been engaged by the Mr Maina-led PRTT for consultancy services, tendered three documents in the course of his testimony but none had to do with his claims against EFCC and its former acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the documents tendered by the witness were: a court judgment delivered by Adamu Bello, an EFCC memo, and a letter of appointment from the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF).
Fielding questions from EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Abubakar, on Friday, the witness conceded that he did not tender any document to back his claim that Mr Maina, in 2016, gave an intelligence report to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the National Security Adviser in Dubai leading to the recovery of N1.3 trillion.
He admitted that he did not tender a copy of the petition which he claimed to have sent to the AGF against EFCC and Mr Magu over their alleged mismanagement of recovered assets.
Mr Ihuoma also confirmed that he did not tender any document to prove that his said petition led to the setting up of the Ayo Salami Judicial Commission of Inquiry that probed Mr Magu and the EFCC last year.
“You claimed that Magu confessed before the panel to have mismanaged the property, but you did not tender the record of proceedings of the Salami panel to prove this,” Mr Abubakar said.
Responding, the witness said, “Yes, I said the Salami panel indicted Magu but I have not tendered a document before the court.”
The witness, who had said the PRTT recovered N181 billion in its first 11 months of operations, admitted that he did not tender any document to support the claim.
He also agreed that he did not tender any document to back his testimony that Mr Maina’s task force recovered N282 billion within its first 18 months.
When the EFCC lawyer asked him if he tendered a list of the 222 pieces of property and N1.63 trillion recovered before the court, Mr Ihuoma said, “I have not tendered a list of those pieces of 222 property in my evidence-in-chief for now.”
In addition, he admitted that he had not produced the evidence to prove that the assets were valued at N1.63 trillion.
“We have not tendered the document in a way,” he said.
Asked if he had tendered any document to back his claim that N282 billion purportedly recovered by the PRTT was warehoused at Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the witness said, “It is not in contest, though I have not.”
He also admitted that there was no document tendered in court by him to prove that N74 billion allegedly recovered by PTRT was used in funding the 2012 budget.
He also confirmed that he did not tender any document to prove his claim that the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) ”commended the PRTT for the biometric data capturing of pensioners in the diaspora”.
But, when asked by the prosecutor, the witness maintained that Mr Maina was being persecuted.
He also stuck to his claims that EFCC mismanaged recovered assets without providing any document to back the claim.
The judge, Okon Abang, adjourned till March 9 to 11 for further cross-examination of the defence witness.
The EFCC had arraigned Mr Maina and his firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd on 12 counts of laundering about N2billion in pension funds.
The defendants denied the charges
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