The trial of the former Head of Service of the Federation, HoS, Mr. Stephen Oronsaye, resumed before an Abuja High Court sitting at Maitama, yesterday, with a bank official, Olubunmi Ojoko, revealing how the defendant allegedly squandered N190 million lodged in a secret account.
Ojoko, who testified as the second prosecution witness, told the court that she was an employee of Access Bank Plc, where Orosanye allegedly diverted funds meant for the Presidential Committee on Financial Action Task Force.
In her Evidence-in-Chief, Ojoko said she was the Access Bank’s officer in charge of the account Orosanye unilaterally opened in the name of the Presidential Committee on FATF. Ojoko opened her testimony shortly after the first prosecution witness, Ngunnan Kakwagh, an EFCC investigator, was cross-examined by the defence team, led by Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN.
The witness narrated how Oronsaye opened the Access Bank account on behalf of the PCFATF in 2012, without obtaining an approval from the Accountant-General of the Federation. Led in evidence by EFCC lawyer, Mr. Ufom Uket, the witness said: “He called me that he needed to open an account on behalf of the Presidential Committee on Financial Action Task Force.
“I met him at his residence in Asokoro, where I handed him the documents for the account, including the Access Bank account opening request of the committee signed by him, his passport photograph, copy of his passport and documents that set up the committee by the then Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“I scrutinised the documents and discovered that the Accountant-General of the Federation’s approval was not included. So I asked him for it and he said it was not necessary.
I asked for the Accountant-General of the Federation’s approval because it is needed when opening a government account. Since he said that it wasn’t necessary, I took him by his word.
“I took the documents to the bank and the account was opened.” She said there were a total of four lodgments into the account from the CBN and other cash deposits.
The witness told the court that the lodgments totalled N285 million, part of which was invested in fixed deposits with part of the interests that accrued re-invested.
Meanwhile, Ojoko maintained that as at the time the account was closed, Oronsaye had already withdrawn about N150 million which was partly interests that accrued on the investments.
The defendant was said to have withdrawn the funds through cheques he issued in favour of himself and various beneficiaries. “The first transfer was N50 million in October 2012.
The second in April 2012 was N90 million from the CBN. In May 2013, there was cash lodgment of N45 million. The fourth lodgment of N100 million came in December 2014 from CBN.” “After the first lodgement (of N50 million from CBN), several cheques were drawn by the defendant (Oronsaye) in favour various beneficiaries.”