30th December, 2020
By Taiwo Okanlawon
Shuaibu Shehu, an investigator with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the second prosecution witness at the ongoing trial of Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie, a lawyer to a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has narrated how the defendant had received an instruction from Atiku to give the sum of $2m to one of his security guards.
Shehu told Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos at the continuation of trial of Giwa-Osagie, on Monday, December 21, 2020.
Giwa-Osagie is standing trial alongside his brother, Erhunse Giwa-Osagie, on a three-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of $2M (Two Million US Dollars) brought against him by the EFCC.
One of the counts reads: “ That you, Uyiekpen Glwa-Osagie and Erhunse Giwa-Osagie, sometime in February, 2019, in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired to commit an offence to wit: making cash payment of the sum of $2,000,000.00 (Two Million United States Dollars) without going through financial institution, which sum exceeded the amount authorized by Law; and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a), and 1(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.”
At today’s sitting, Shehu, who was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Kufre Uduak, told the court that the Commission, sometime in 2019, received intelligence that some politicians were moving around with US Dollars to influence the result of the last general elections.
He said: “It was also revealed that the sum of $1.6m (One Million, Six Hundred US Dollars) was given to one Alhaji Lawan Abdullahi, a Bureau De Change Operator (BDC).
“Based on this intelligence, my team conducted investigations and recovered the sum of $1,459m (One Million, Four Hundred and Fifty-Nine Million US Dollars) and N50m (Fifty Million Naira) in cash.
“It was also discovered that the money came from a company called Guensey Trust Nigeria Limited controlled by the first defendant in trust for Atiku Abubakar.”
In his further testimony, the witness told the court that Guensey Trust received into its own account the sum of €26m (Twenty-Six Million Euros) from a foreign company, Intel West Africa.
According to him, “The money was then converted into Dollars, which was $30m.
“Guensey Trust transferred the sum of $5m (Five Million Dollars) into Andrew Pitchford, a company owned by the 2nd defendant, and was converted into Naira through a BDC Company.
“The 2nd defendant was also instructed by the 1st defendant to raise the sum of $2m for someone, whom we later found out to be a security guard to Atiku Abubakar.
“Our findings revealed that the first defendant received the instruction from the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar to hand over the money to the said person.”
Justice Aneke further adjourned the matter till January 13, 2021, for continuation for trial.