An Abuja Federal High Court has heard how former Principal Secretary to former President Goodluck Jonathan purchased a property in Maitama, Abuja with N650 million paid from the account of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Samuel Babatunji Adeniyi and Kabiru Yaro, who testified on Friday, as 3rd and 4th prosecution witnesses in the trial of Jonathan’s cousin, Robert Azibaola, his wife, Stella, and their company, One Plus Holdings Limited, gave details of how the property located at 15 Rio Negro Street was bought.
Yaro and Adeniyi gave the name of the ex-Jonathan’s aide as Ambassador Hassan Tukur.
They told the court that they did not know the defendants in person and have never related with them until they met them in court Friday. Both witnesses were led in evidence by prosecution lawyer, Sylvanus Tahir.
Yaro , who described Tukur as his childhood friend, said the property is located next to Jonathan’s house.
“Sometime in October 2014, Nuuman Barau Dambatta, approached me that he had some debts in the bank and he wanted sell his two properties, one in Kano and one in Maitama, Abuja.
“I told him I was not interested and he requested that the house in Maitama was a neighbour to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“He asked me if I could speak to Ambassador Tukur to see if he (Tukur) could buy the property. I called the ambassador and I told him that Barau was interested in selling the property and if he could assist.
“I arranged, and Nuuman went to meet the ambassador (Tukur). Later Nuuman called me and asked for the Certificate of Occupancy and gave it to the ambassador.
“Later Nuuman called me and said a valuation had been made on the property and that the valuation on the property was N650m, which the ambassador said he had got a buyer for, but he didn’t tell us who it was.
“Later sometime in December 2014, the money was paid to Alhaji Nuuman Baraua’s estate agent.
“Nuuman called me to say the payment he received came from the Central Bank of Nigeria, and I told him he sound call and ask the ambassador (Tukur) why the money came from there.
“I said I didn’t know and that whatever name to he (Nuuman) saw was the one who had bought the property. After he signed the document, he gave them to me to take back to Ambassador Hassan Tukur.
“That day he asked me to sign the original C of O. I collected it from him and signed it. From that time, the handing over is between him and the property buyers and I don’t know what else transpired until this matter came up,” Yaro said.
Adeniyi, an estate surveyor and valuer, said he signed the sale documents, prepared in the name of One Plus Holdings, as a witness of the property seller.
“Later our client (Nuuman) now told me that it’s like that and they (Tukur and his agents) are serious now. And he asked me to text our company’s account number to him.
“Of course, I texted the account number details to him, I mean our account to him, I mean our account number at Wema Bank.
“Suddenly on December 9, 2014, I got an alert of N650m from Wema Bank which tallied with the figure he had agreed with the prospective buyers.
“Immediately I contacted him. I forwarded the text of the bank alert him that same night of December 9, 2014.
“The details of the source of payment was ‘NEFT ONSA’ was the narration of the test that I got on the alert which I forwarded to our client.”
He said the sale document was later prepared by a legal firm, M.B. Shehu & Co. which he said he signed as a witness.
“The assignor is Alhaji Nuuman Barau Dambatta and the buyer was One Plus Holding.”
Defence lawyer, Chris Uche (SAN), while cross-examining Adeniyi, tendered his (Adeniyi’s) statement which he made to the EFCC.
Although Tahir objected to the admission of the statement, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba overruled his objection to admit the statement.
Justice Dimgba later adjourned to January 30 for continuation of trial.