6th November, 2021
The trial of a former Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, for an alleged N1.35 billion fraud continued on November 5, 2021.
Lamido and his two sons, Aminu and Mustapha, Aminu Wada Abubakar, Bamaina Holdings Ltd, and Speeds International Ltd were arraigned before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
However, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, presented its sixteenth witness, a Certified Ethical Hacker, and forensics analyst of the Commission, Mercy Titus.
Titus told the court that, as a professional digital forensics examiner, her schedule is to analyze contents of various digital devices such as flash drives, hard drives, mobile phones, tablets, and all sorts of storage devices using a software or other tools in order to recover information contained in those devices, and ensure the integrity of such devices are not compromised.
The witness told the court that between June and July 2015, a team of investigators from the Economic Governance Section of the Commission came to the Forensics Department. She said the team, led by Detective Michael Wetkas brought a journal and asked if forensically, they could ascertain the actual date and the computer the journal was created from and if the files created can be printed out. “I said, yes, if we have access to the system, particularly the hard drive where the information is stored,” she stated.
She said the investigators returned to Dantata and Sawoe at Kargi and with the help of the Chief Accountant of the company, located the system from where the journal originated and, using a software, forensic imager light version 3.1, copied details of the information in the hard drive which they brought to the Laboratory for analysis.
She said she narrowed her search to ascertain the originality of the journal from the system the documents came from. The witness told the court that she discovered it came from the same system. She said the journal given to her showed it was created between 2010-2013 and 2014-2015 and each journal contained a different worksheet. The first worksheet was named; 66012 and was saved on March 3, 2015 at about 9:18 am.
The prosecuting counsel Chile Okoroma gave her the report marked Exhibit 20 to verify and she confirmed them as genuine.
She further told the court that among the workbooks she discovered on the system for 2010 entry, contained the journal entry and was named; SPEED, WADA and MAINA.XLXS.
While cross-examining her, Joe Agi SAN asked the witness whether the software captures deleted files. She answered in the affirmative but adds that she only did her checks and analysis based on the request she received from the investigators.
Justice Ojukwu thereafter adjourned the matter till January 24 and 25, 2022 for the continuation of cross-examination and trial.
Lamido is being tried along with his sons — Aminu and Mustapha — Wada Abubakar, Bamaina Holdings Ltd, Bamaina Company Nigeria Ltd, Bamaina Aluminium Limited, and Speeds International Limited, on a 43-count charge of alleged money laundering to the tune of N1.35 billion.
He is alleged to have awarded contracts to companies in which he and his sons had interests while serving as governor between 2007 and 2015.
Michael Wetkas, the 15th prosecution witness who is an operative of the EFCC, had told the court that the defendants used their companies to receive several payments suspected to be kickbacks from contractors masked as payments for sub-contracts while Lamido was governor.
Wetkas, with the aid of a chart, showed the court how Lamido allegedly received payments into his personal accounts from Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company, Interior Woodworks Ltd., and A.G Ferrero & Co Ltd, who were contractors in Jigawa state via Bamaina Holdings Ltd. and Speeds International Ltd accounts, said to have the former governor and the third defendant, Mustapha, as sole signatories.
During cross-examination, he explained that the investigation of the former governor was not political as it was triggered by the arrest of one of his sons, Aminu, at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport for allegedly failing to declare $40,000 to the authorities on his way to Egypt.
At the court session on Friday, the 16th witness, Mercy Titus, identified as a “certified ethical hacker and forensic analyst” of the anti-graft agency, told the court about journals that were allegedly generated from a computer system at Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company.