- BY REMILEKUN DARAMOLA in Maiduguri•
Politicians in Yobe State on Wednesday explained before a federal high court judge how the N450 million was collected and shared among them for President Goodluck Jonathan re-election.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had assembled three witnesses in the trial of former Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Abdul Bulama before Justice Hammada Dashen of a Federal High Court, sitting in Damaturu, Yobe State.
Bulama is facing prosecution alongside four others, namely: Mohammed Kadai, a former state commissioner for Integrated and Rural Development, Yobe State, Abba Gana Tata; Dr. Muhammad Mamu and Hassan Ibn Jaks on a seven-count charge bordering on criminal conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of over N450 million.
Bulama was the coordinator of former President Goodluck Jonathan 2015 Re-election campaign Committee in Yobe State; the four others were members.
Prosecution witnesses gave detailed accounts of how campaign funds, made available by the former Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke were distributed to stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) in Yobe State by the Bulama Committee.
While being led in evidence by prosecuting counsel, Mukhtar Ali Ahmed, the first prosecution witness, Dauda Umar, an EFCC operative, attached to Advanced Fee Fraud Unit (AFF) of the Commission revealed how Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke sent monies to Fidelity Bank across the country for the 2015 Presidential election.
According to Umar, “We invited and confronted the management of Fidelity Bank, Damaturu Branch with the intelligence report received from the headquarters of the Commission on the allegations that, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, a former Minister of Petroleum warehoused over N23 billion across the country in Fidelity Bank.
The officials of Fidelity Bank mentioned that, the first and second defendants came to Damaturu Branch of Fidelity Bank, where they signed and collected the sum of N450 million cash. During the course of investigation, the first and second defendants were invited and confronted with the intelligence report.”
Umar further disclosed that, “the Peoples Democratic Party asked Bulama to go to Fidelity Bank, Damaturu Branch and withdraw the sum of N450 million alongside a template for its disbursement in Yobe State. The first and second defendants went to Fidelity Bank on the 27th March, 2015, signed and collected the money in cash.”
Umar disclosed that the monies were distributed to the three senatorial zones in Yobe State, with the third defendant confirming to have collected the sum of over N85million for Zone A, fourth defendant confirming to have collected over N73million for Zone B and the fifth defendant confirming to have collected over N70million for Zone C.
The second prosecution witness, Engineer Muhammad Buba Jajere, while being led in evidence told the court that, he received a phone call from Ambassador Umaru Damagum, who asked him to meet Dr Mamu (fourth defendant) and collect money meant for Funne Local Government Area.
“He gave me a cash sum of over N23million. Out of the over N23million collected, N1.950million was meant for PDP stakeholders with the list of beneficiaries in Funne LGA. I took the money and handed it over to a standing committee, charged with the responsibility of disbursing the funds at the eve of the 2015 Presidential election.
“The funds were disbursed to the 13 wards in Funne LGA by the said committee. A shortfall was realized and I called Dr Mamu who brought the shortfall of N500, 000,” Jajere said.
The third prosecution witness, Adamu Ishaya who is a politician and a farmer while being led in evidence, narrated how he collected N13, 150million alongside a list of beneficiaries from Abba Gana Tata (third defendant) for delivery to Gulani Local Government Area of Yobe State.
Justice Dashen adjourned the case to April 29, 2019 for continuation of hearing.