The trial of a former governor of Nasarawa State, Aliyu Akwe Doma and two others continued on Wednesday before Justice Agatha Okeke, with a prosecution witness, Ego Maikeffi Abashe, the Clerk of the state House of Assembly revealing how Doma had allegedly diverted the sum of N350m from the coffers of the state.
Doma, who is standing trial along with Timothy Anjide, a former secretary to the state government and Dauda Egwa, a former accountant-general, is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on a 10-count charge bordering on money laundering and financial crimes.
The accused persons, between January 2007 and December 2009, allegedly conspired and fraudulently laundered state funds to the tune of N8billion, an offence contrary to Section 14(1)(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2004 and punishable under section 14(1) of the same Act.
At the resumed hearing, Abashe told the court that there was no approval or record by the House of Assembly for the sum of N350 million allegedly disbursed under the title ‘‘special releases’’.
Led in evidence by Kemi Phinheiro, SAN, the prosecution witness also told the court that the House of Assembly did not initiate the disbursement of N70 million as shown to him in exhibit 23aa-cc.
He added, ‘‘I can’t recall the disbursements of N80 million as shown in exhibit 23ca; N150 million as shown in exhibit 23ab and N120 million as shown in exhibit 23ba, as there was no record or memo initiated for such releases; and there was no cheque raised for special releases in the office of the House of Assembly.’’
Abashe, who stated that he was familiar with the records of the House of Assembly, even before he became the clerk, added, ‘‘For additional funding, which is not captured by the budget, the clerk will put out a memo endorsed by the Speaker of the House of Assembly and addressed to the State Executive (Governor). The Governor would approve the memo, which would be conveyed to the House of Assembly and then taken to the Office of the Accountant- General for a cheque to be released.’’