By Godwin Tsa,Abuja
There was a mild drama at the Federal High Court Abuja on Friday as witnesses of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) testifying in the $40 million laundering case against a cousin of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Azibaola Robert, and his wife, Stella, denied knowledge of any financial dealing with the couple.
They, however, admitted transacting business with his firm, Oneplus, which was allegedly awarded the contract for the supply of strategic communication kits by the Office of the National Security Adviser in 2014.
The prosecution witnesses, who are officials of a commercial bank, told Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court Abuja, that they did not know or do any business with the defendants.
The witnesses were Mohammed Abdurazak Bello, Confidence Onabu Iwade and Remiginus Ugwu.
A prosecution witness, Folashade Ibrahim, a branch manager with Wema Bank, said she did not know or do any business with Robert or his wife, Stella adding that they were not the beneficiaries of the money she disbursed from the accounts of Tunji Adeniyi & Co, a property firm owned and managed by Tunji Adeniyi.
Speaking while being cross-examined by the defence counsel, Gordy Uche, on whether she knew Robert and his wife, Stella, Ibrahim replied: “No. I don’t even know them. And they are not part of the beneficiaries of the transfers from the account of Tunji & Co,”
Also testifying Mohammed Abdulrasak Bello, Managing Director of BDC Safeway Clean Exchange, said, “I don’t know the man, I don’t know the lady”, referring to Aziboala and Stella Robert, but I have dealt with Oneplus Holdings.”
“The transaction between me and the Zenith Bank officials is legal; there is nothing illegal about it. The Zenith Bank officials told me that the bank did not have enough dollar cash and asked me to source dollar from the black market for them. In all we transacted $6.6m. At times I paid Naira into an account provided. “All these transactions were handled between, Amobi Odum, Obinna Amaechi and Nnadozie. In my statement I did say I have never met Oneplus Holdings Nigeria Limited.”
In her testimony, Confidence Iwade, a marketer with Capitalfield Energy & Allied Service said: “I don’t know them (referring to Robert and Stella) but my office had had dealing with Oneplus Holdings sometimes in 2014. “We had transaction of $2m which Oneplus paid into my company’s account and the naira equivalent paid into Kamarudeen Dahiru’s account. And this is a normal, legal business and which my company has also done with other companies.”
In the same vein, Remegius Ugwu, Compliance Officer with Zenith Bank, submitted, “Personally I don’t know them (referring to Azibaola and Stella Robert), but I know Oneplus Holdings.”
The statements of the witnesses were admitted by the judge. The prosecution led by Sylvanus Tahir, submitted that the agency intended to call no fewer than 13 witnesses to prove its case against the defendants, adding that eight had so far been called to testify. The case was adjourned to June 20 and 21.