Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday November 22 adjourned further hearing in the corruption trail of a former Chairman of House Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Nicholas Mutu Ebomo and his companies: Airworld Technologies Limited and Oyien Homes Limited, to Wednesday November 24, 2021.
This followed the testimony of the fourth prosecuting witness, Adamu Yusuf, who narrated how the Investigation of the Bayelsa-born lawmaker commenced and the steps taken by the investigative team to unravel the influence peddling and fraud around the collection of statutory levies by the NDDC from oil and gas companies operating in the Niger Delta.
Led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Ekele Iheanacho the witness recalled how in 2013, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, received an intelligence report alleging that the management of NDDC and some members of the National Assembly including Nicholas Mutu received gratification and kickbacks from contractors.
He said a special taskforce was set up and commenced investigation. It requested information on financial transactions of the companies involved from various financial institutions, including Fidelity and Heritage Banks.
He disclosed that from the responses the team received, they discovered “that Starline Consulting Services Limited received more than N10bn from NDDC and payments were made to various individuals and organizations, with the second and third defendants as beneficiaries.”
“We discovered that the second defendant received N320m from Starline while the third defendant received N80m”.
The witness disclosed that though there were documents indicating that the second defendant was part of the contract execution, this was not established by the investigation as some of the companies interviewed confirmed that the second and third defendants were not part of the contract.
On the relationship between the 1st defendant and the other defendants in the charge, Yusuf said, though the 1st defendant claimed that he was not part of the people that run the companies, “we found out that he is a director of the first and second defendants. He also made a commitment to return the money paid to the second and third defendants. So far, he has returned N150m.
The prosecution tendered various documents which were admitted in evidence.