By Onozure Dania
The trial of a former Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr Tuoyo Omatsuli and three others over alleged N3.6 billion fraud, commenced yesterday, before a Federal High Court in Lagos.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had on November 8, 2018, arraigned Omatsuli alongside Don Parker Properties Ltd, Francis Momoh and Building Associates Ltd, before Justice Saliu Saidu on a 45-count charge bordering on the alleged offence. At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, the anti-graft agency called its first witness, Eyo Bassey Francis, a software developer and contractor.
The witness, while being cross-examined by EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Ekele Iheanacho, told the court that he had executed contracts for NDDC as well as Akwa-Ibom, Imo and Abia State governments. He said: “As a contractor with NDDC, in 2014, I came in contact with Mr Tuoyo Omatsuli.
“In the course of our discussion, I told him that I run an online platform and I do a lot of imports. I also told him that because of my engagement in import, I was able to source for foreign currencies.
“He later called me on phone and told me that some money will be transferred into my account. I got an initial sum of N80 million transferred into the Heritage Bank account of one of my firms, Asiladrrin Global Consulting Ltd, I then converted the money into dollars as directed by Mr Tuoyo.
“I was furnished with an account of a firm, Greenhouse Investment, owned by the Special Assistant on Finance to the then NDDC’sMD to which I transferred N100 million. The balance was converted to dollars as directed by MrTuoyo.”
The case has been adjourned to April 11, for the continuation of trial.