EFCC Witness Narrates How Defendants Steal N1.3B From Nigeria Police

Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe of the Special Offences Court Sitting in Ikeja Lagos, has ordered prosecuting witness to tender documents his evidence-in-chief on trial de novo of 14-count charge bordering on felony and stealing to the tune of N1, 301, 334, 108 (One Billion, Three Hundred and One Million, Three Hundred and Thirty-four Thousand, One Hundred and Eight Naira) only.

The suspects are: Ifeoma Okpalugo, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP, (retd.); Olumide Odumosu, Suleiman Yusuf Tegina and Helen Nwafor. They were charged alongside Yus Investment Nigeria Limited and Olivia Osmond Nigeria Limited for allegedly diverting the sum of N1,301, 334,108.00 belonging to the Nigeria Police Force, NPF, to their personal use.

The suspects were charged alongside Yus Investment Nigeria Limited and Olivia Osmond Nigeria Limited.

They were previously arraigned before Justice S. O. Solebo of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja.

But, their trial was paused due to the retirement of justice Serifat Solebo, thereby prompting the re-assignment of the case to Justice Fadipe.

At today’s proceedings, Prosecuting counsel, A. O. Mohammed announced his appearance and told the court that he is ready for trial.

However, A. A. Malik SAN, defence counsel to 2nd and 6th defendants told the court that his attention just drew to two bundles of documents which are proof of evidence that just filed before the court, he is just seeing it for the first time.

“My lord, my attention has just been drawn to two bundles of evidence that have just been filed before the court, I am just seeing it for the first time . I pray to the court to grant us the opportunity to go through this proof of evidence that the witness wants to tender”. He said.

Justice Fadipe overruled the prayer and ordered the prosecuting counsel to start with his witness.

However, in calling the witness pw1, Orji Chukwuma Kosichukwu, confirmed that he knew all the defendants. In the course of the Commission investigating the case, the Commission developed a flow of money meant for police personnel, and this account of police domicile in First Bank, the account that receives inflow of money meant for Police personnel in the southwest.

To carry out their investigation, they wrote a letter to the Ministry of Finance in respect of this account and they provided them with some documents for the credit of the account in First Bank.

And they discovered that the money meant for police personnel in Southwest was transferred to an account of police in Skye Bank from which the money was transferred to Lagos Command .

That those money meant for Lagos Police personnel the defendants conspired among themselves and opened two accounts in Zenith Bank in the name of Lagos Command .

From this Skye Bank account, they move money monthly to Zenith Bank accounts. From the Zenith Bank accounts sometimes they make cash withdrawal transfers to themselves as the two Companies which the 1st and 2nd Defendants represent .

And sometimes to a GTB account – GBESON Ventures. The 3rd Defendant, not a police officer in Lagos ,the 4th Defendant used her in proxy to open an account in Zenith Bank through which the 4th Defendant received her proceeds of the money and from there the (the 4th Defendant ) acquired a house in Abuja .

In the course of investigation, they received letters from the Federal Ministry of Finance ,the police statement in First bank account and the two accounts in Skye Bank –Southwest and Lagos account and also the instrument of instruction on transactions including the fraudulent account in Zenith Bank . They also receive from Zenith Bank . The account opening package and statement. They also receive from GTB the account of GBESON Ventures.

He mentioned to court that the summary of their investigations, including a series of letters to various banks, carrying out investigations, interviewing all defendants and carrying out surveillance on all their suspects, discovered that defendants used fake addresses to open an account which they used to divert all this money.

Consequently, Justice Fadipe adjourned the matter to February 20, 2024 for continuation of trial.