FRAUD TRIAL: WITNESS NARRATES HOW NYAME DIVERTED N24M MEANT FOR GRAINS
The trial of former governor of Taraba State, Rev. Jolly Nyame continued at an FCT high court, Gudu, Abuja yesterday, February 3 with more shocking revelations from a prosecution witness who narrated how the accused diverted state funds for personal use.
Nyame is facing a 41-count charge instituted against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Justice Adebunkola Banjoko over money laundering and diversion of public funds totaling over N1.3 billion.
One of the prosecution witnesses, Japheth Wubon, who is the permanent secretary, Taraba State Liaison Office, Abuja, had at the resumption of the case on Wednesday, February 2, narrated how he raised a memo on the order of the ex-governor for the release of N24 million to buy grains for Taraba State farmers, but was never used for that purpose.
When the matter resumed yesterday, it was a tough battle for the defence counsel, Olalekan Ojo as he tried hard to discredit the claims of Wubon who maintained his earlier statements indicting the former governor. Wubon, in his testimony had told the court that after raising the memo for the release of the N24 million to buy grains, the ex-governor informed him that the funds would be used to purchase security gadgets as against the initial purpose for which the fund was released.
The permanent secretary, in response to question from the EFCC prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, further said the ex-governor ordered him to send the money in cash to him in Taraba through Mr. Adamu Aboki who is the accountant in the Abuja liaison office, an order he said he complied with.
He said to the best of his knowledge, the grains were never purchased neither were the security gadgets acquired.
In the course of the trial yesterday, certified true copies of the memo written by Wubon for the release of the N24 million as well as cheques raised for same purpose were admitted by the trial judge as Exhibits Q and M respectively. The case was adjourned till today for continuation of trial.
At the resumed hearing of the case on September 29, 2010, Defence Counsel, Charles Edosonwan, while leading Mr. Denis Orkuma Nev, a principal prosecution witness in cross examination, had asked the witness if there were records to show that the accused, indeed received money from him while he was governor of Taraba State.
But the witness repeatedly insisted that the former governor, through verbal directives, had always directed who should be given money, adding that even when the governor asked that money be brought to him in the office, he had never signed anything to acknowledge receipt of such money.