Monday 24th July, 2017
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N620m arms fund: How businessman used firm to defraud FG, by EFCC

N620m arms fund: How businessman used firm to defraud FG, by EFCC

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.”

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