A star prosecution witness with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Mohammed Mustapha, yesterday, told Justice U.P. Kekemeke of an Abuja High Court at Apo that a businessman, Rabiu Hassan used a construction firm to receive funds from the office of the immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA), Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd) without executing the contract.
Hassan who was a Director at Hypertech Nigeria Limited and Air Vice Marshal Saliu Atawodi (rtd), a former chairman, Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Safety (PICOMSS), were on May 11, 2016 arraigned by the EFCC on a three- count charge bordering on conspiracy, abuse of office and misappropriation of public funds.
The EFCC witness, Mr Mohammed Mustapha, who is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Hypertech Nigeria Limited, yesterday, insisted that Hassan while serving as director of Hypertech, allegedly used the name of his firm to secure the contract of supplying military boats to PICOMMS, but diverted the funds.
While being cross-examined by the 1st defendant, Atawodi’s lawyer, Mr F.R. Onoja, Mustapha said: “Based on bank statements’ evidence from Eco Bank Plc, the sum of N620 million was paid to Hassan in some tranches to supply the boats to PICOMMS, which he did not supply.”
Earlier, Mr Onoja had applied to withdraw his stay of proceedings application which the prosecution lawyer, Mr Salisu Majidadi and the 3rd defendant (Hypertech Nigeria Limited) counsel, Mr Gerald Nwaneri, did not oppose in view of the provisions of section 306 the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, which does not support the request.
Consequently, the trial judge, Justice Kekemeke struck out the application and adjourned the suit till November 24 for continuation of trial.
The accused persons allegedly defrauded the government to the tune of over N620 million through suspicious contracts to procure military boats.
One of the counts reads: “That you, AVM Saliu Atawodi (rtd), whilst serving as the Chairman of the Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Safety and Security (PICOMSS), Rabiu Hassan and Hypertech (Nig) Ltd on or about the 28th day of November, 2011 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court with intent to defraud did conspire to obtain property by false pretence to wit: the sum of Six hundred and twenty million, nine hundred and ten thousand Naira (N620,910,000), property of the Federal Government under the pretence that the money represents payment for the supply of six piece of K-38 Armoured patrol boats to Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Safety and Security (PICOMSS) and which pretence you knew was false.”