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EFCC witness reveals how ex-HoS Oyo-Ita allegedly used companies to launder N3bn while in service

Head of federal service Oyo-Ita hospitalized after grilling by EFCC over N3bn scam

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Mr. Hamma-Adama Bello, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) witness, on Tuesday, told the Federal High Court, Abuja, how the former Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, used her companies to launder the government’s funds while in service.

The commission arraigned Oyo-Ita on an 18-count charge of N3 billion fraud on January 18, 2023.

She was arraigned alongside her Special Assistant, Ubong Okon Effiok, Garba Umar and his companies, Slopes International Limited and Gooddeal Investments Limited.

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Other defendants are – Frontline Ace Global Services Limited, Asanaya Projects Limited, U & U Global Services Limited, belonging to Effiok, and Prince Mega Logistics Limited.

They were all arraigned for alleged fraud regarding duty tour allowance (DTA), estacodes, conference fees, and receiving kickbacks on contracts.

The defendants all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Bello, the Head Special Investigation Team (SIT), spoke when he testified as the 8th prosecution witness (PW8) in the case.

The witness, who was led in evidence by the EFCC’s lawyer, Farouk Abdullah, said his team received intelligence from the office of the anti-graft agency’s chairman sometime in 2019.

He said: “The intelligence bordered on the activities of the 1st defendant (Oyo-Ita), her minister then in the Ministry of Special Duty and Inter-Governmental Affairs where she was serving.

“The 1st defendant was the permanent secretary then, and other staff included Mr. Ubong, the 7th defendant.

“The team developed intelligence and started the investigation.

“In the course of the investigation, we called for documents.

“The nature of the intelligence was such that the 1st and 7th defendants and a host of others were using their office to get contracts for companies they incorporated or have interest in,” he said.

The witness said the team invited Oyo-Ita and her Special Assistant having received analysed documents relating to the intelligence.

“The team had an interaction with them and in the cause of the interaction, Mr. Garba Umar, who is also the 4th defendant, became a person of interest for the investigation and he was invited. We also had an interaction with him.

“During the investigation, we discovered that the 1st defendant was the beneficial owner of Frontline Ace Global Services Limited and Asanaya Projects Limited.

“We also discovered that the 1st defendant also has an interest in Asanaya Farms Limited,” he added.

Bello told the court that the investigation revealed that Oyo-Ita maintained two accounts in Zenith Bank for Frontline Ace Global Services Limited.

“We also discovered that the 1st defendant had severally sat as chairman, and CEO of Frontline Ace Global Services Limited where she issued both resolutions to open the said accounts.

“Having analysed these two board resolutions issued by the 1st defendant, the team realised that the 1st defendant is the beneficial owner of the accounts.

“We carried out a careful analysis of the account she was closing and concluded that about N124 million has passed through this account.

“We realised that there were payments in 2010 from the Federal Ministry of Power into the account and other agencies like the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (when it was a government agency).

“These payments were from government coffers while she was serving as a deputy director in the same ministry,” the witness concluded.

Justice James Omotosho adjourned the matter till January 26 for continuation of trial.

The post EFCC witness reveals how ex-HoS Oyo-Ita allegedly used companies to launder N3bn while in service appeared first on Latest Nigeria News | Top Stories from Ripples Nigeria.

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