A Federal High Court in Abuja heard yesterday how businessman, Raymond Dokpesi allegedly got N2.1billion from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) to carry out campaign for President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term bid.
An official of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mukaddas Aliyu Mohammed, who testified as the first prosecution witness, gave details of how fromer National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki and Director of Finanacce and Administration at ONSA authorised the payment of the money to Dokpesi through his company – DAAR Investment Company Ltd.
Dokpesi and his company are being tried on charges of money laundering and breach of public trust.
Led in evidence by lead prosecution witness, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Mohammad, Manager, Payment Section, CBN Abuja, told the court how they transferred the money from the CBN into Dokpesi’s company’s account
Mohammad said:”My schedule of duty is effecting payments from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), basically receiving payment instruments or mandates brought by an authorised officer from an organization.
“After receiving the payment mandate, it will be passed for verification, which include checks of signatories to the account, status, letter headed paper etc. We check whether all the due process has been followed and complied with.
“Afterward, we pass for payment by debiting the organisation and crediting the beneficiary.
After explaining his line of duty, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs SAN, then asked the witness if he knew the office of NSA.
“Yes I know the of the NSA. That office is our customer; they do send payment mandates to us to effect. I know sometimes that I have effected payment for that company (DAAR Investment). I have documents in the office to show how payments have been effected in its favour.
“We got the payment mandate from the Office of the National Security Adviser, it was confirmed and passed for verification, after which payment was made. We debited the account of the ONSA and credited the beneficiary as instructed. We are the custodian of the account of ONSA,” Mohammad said.
Jacobs later tendered four documents (payment mandates) through the witness, which the court admitted as exhibits A1, A2, A3 and A4, and on which he was later asked questions.
Mohammad said exhibit A1, dated January 21, 2015 had a mandate of N500million, and that, “the purpose of the payment is for media campaign, and the signatories to that account are the NSA himself and the Director of Finance, ONSA.”
He added that the payment mandate dated February 2, 2015 (exhibit A2), he revealed that the amount was N500million and the purpose was for payment of media campaign.
The witness said the payment mandates dated February 9 and March 19, 2015 authorised the payment of N620million and N500million respectively to DAAR Investment for the purpose of media campaign.
Under cross-examination by Dokpesi’s lawyer, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), the witness they (officials at the CBN) complied with due process in the confirmation and verification of the mandates before payments were effected.
He said although signatories to the ONSA account have now changed, with a change in government, the procedure for payment was still the same.
“We have been effecting payments using the same procedure used during the time of Dasuki as NSA,” he said. On how ONSA’s account with the CBN was funded, the witness said “it is funded by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, from funds appropriated in the national budget by the National Assembly.”
Trial judge, Justice John Tsoho has adjourned to November 18 for continuation of trial.