$40m transfer: ONSA paid N650m for Maitama property – Witness tells court

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There was mild drama at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, when the fourth witness called by the prosecution told the court that the sum of N650 million he got for a massive property in Maitama District of Abuja came directly to him from the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, and not from One-plus Holdings Limited, belonging to a cousin of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Azibaola Robert.

Roberts-Azibaola

Recall that Azibaola and wife are facing charges preferred against them by the EFCC over alleged receipt of $40 million from the ONSA for some security services, which the company said it had faithfully completed in line with the terms of the contract.

The witness who identified himself as an estate surveyor and valuer, while narrating the circumstances that led to the property transaction, told the court that he was retained by one Alhaji Numan Barau Danbatta to manage his property at Rio Negro Close, Maitama, Abuja, which was used by the Indian High Commission.

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Led in evidence by prosecution counsel, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir, the EFCC witness, said after the Indian High Commission vacated the property, Alhaji Danbatta, intimated him about plans to sell it owing to pressure mounted on him by his bankers.

He said as they searched for prospective buyers, Danbatta informed him that his friend, Alhaji Kabiru Yaro, had found a buyer at the cost of N650m, though the house was valued at N950m.

According to the witness, on December 9, 2014, he received an alert of N650 million into his Wema Bank PLC account, with a narration that showed that the fund came from the ONSA.

He told the court that title deeds of the property was signed by one Abubakar Bello Mohammed of the firm of M.B. Shehu and Co. on behalf of Oneplus Holdings Ltd, a company owned by Jonathan’s cousin.

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However, under cross-examination by Aziboala’s lead counsel, Chief Chris Uche, SAN, leading 16 other senior lawyers, the witness, said that he had never met either Azibaola or his wife before yesterday.

He equally admitted that he had never come across a representative of OnePlus Holdings during authorising the entire property transaction.

Asked why the purported buyer of the property, did not take possession of it, from December 9, 2014, when he got the payment alert, until about July 13, 2015, the witness, said “there were issues in the transaction as at then”.

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He further told the court he never saw any authorisation document that Oneplus Holdings Limited gave to M.B. Shehu and Co.

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