N714m Fraud: N150m Traced to Ex- Special Duties Minister’s Law Firm- Witness

The Twelfth prosecution witness in the ongoing corruption trial of a former minister of special duties and inter-governmental affairs, Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, Hamma’Adama Bello, an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, told the Court on Tuesday February 9, that a sum of N150 million from the funds allocated for public sensitization by the ministry, was traced to Abdulrahman Yusuf and KT Turaki & Co., the law firm of the former minister.

Led in evidence by prosecuting counsel, M.S Abubakar, Bello told the court that the second defendant received payment through Samtee Essentials and Pasco Investment, adding that ” the second defendant showed that he received money from Minister of Labour while the first defendant was supervising minister in the sum of N150 million and transferred to Abdulrahman Yusuf and KT Turaki & Co.”

The witness told the court that the sum of N359, 104,000 was approved for sensitization and enlightenment of Muslim youths against hate speech and religious intolerance.

On January 12, 2015, Turaki wrote a letter to the Minister of Finance for the release of the said money. Four days later, precisely on January 19, 2015, the money was paid to the Special Duties Ministry.

Once the money hit the account of the ministry, it was disbursed through officials, with some of the funds being traced back to the first defendant and his wife.

Bello told the court that the Director Finance and Account revealed that the funds were “controlled by the first defendant”.

He narrated how some of the funds were disbursed based on instructions. According to him, a total of N75million was transferred to one Abdullahi Bagudu in two tranches of N45m and N30m from the Zenith Bank account of the Ministry of Special Duties.

The witness disclosed that while examining the inflows into the account of the first defendant’s wife, Halima Tanimu Turaki on January 23, 2015, investigators spotted a transfer of N20million from Abdullahi Bagudu that is believed to be from the N45m which he received from the Ministry.

The case has been adjourned till February 18, 2021 for continuation of trial.

Turaki, his special assistant, Sampson Okpetu and two companies: Samtee Essentials Limited and Pasco Investment Limited are standing trial on a 16-count change of fraud amounting to N714, 670, 014.87 (Seven Hundred and Fourteen Million, Six Hundred and Seventy Thousand, Fourteen Naira) .

Wisdom Bassey

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