Mr. Michael Okoye, a witness in the trial of former Minister of the FCT, Nasir El-Rufai, has narrated how the accused converted a plot of land belonging to the PHCN in Abuja to his own.
He disclosed that Plot 1201, Asokoro District, was originally allocated to the PHCN for the construction of a sub-station.
Okoye, a retired Assisstant Manager (Works Services) at the PHCN, who testified before an Abuja High Court, said that the land was for the construction of a 132/33 KVA transmitting/injection sub-station.
El-Rufai, Altine Jibrin, former Director-General of the Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS) and its former General Manager, Ismail Iro, are standing trial for abuse of office.
The EFCC is charging the trio with illegal conversion of Plot 1201, a land meant for the construction of a transmitting/injection sub-station for the PHCN in Asokoro.
They were also alleged to have conspired and converted Plot 3352 in Maitama, belonging to NIPOST for the construction of a district post office.
El-Rufai is accused of allocating 10 plots of land in Asokoro District to members of his family, including his two wives, Hadiza and Hasiya.
The EFCC claimed that they committed the offence between 2003 and 2007.
Led in evidence by EFCC counsel Wahab Ibiwole, Okoye, who was also in charge of the project department of PHCN, said that the land was allocated to the PHCN in 2003.
The witness said that due to encroachment on the land, the PHCN was unable to construct the power station and utilise the plot of land for the purpose it was meant.
He also said that to the best of his knowledge, there was never a time the PHCN indicated that it did not need the plot of land.
“When PHCN realised the encroachment, we wrote to the then Minister of Power informing him that Plot 1201 had been encroached upon by unknown people.
“The PHCN also told the minister that it still needed the land for the construction of the station which will improve power supply to residents of the city,’’ he said.
During cross- examination by Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), counsel to Iro, the third accused, Okoye agreed that prior to 2003, Plot 1201 was not allocated to PHCN.
Further testifying, Okoye said that he was not aware that some people had been issued Certificates of Occupancy to Plot 1201 Asokoro, prior to 2003.
In the middle of cross-examination, Agabi prayed the court for an adjournment to enable him to attend a lecture he was to deliver at the NBA FCT branch seminar.
Ibiwole did not object to the adjournment sought.
Also counsel to El-Rufai (first accused) and Jibrin (second accused), Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN) also did not object to the
application for adjournment sought by Agabi.
Justice Abubakar Umar adjourned further hearing in the case till December 11 for continuation of cross-examination of Okoye.