A prosecuting witness Thursday told the Federal High Court, Abuja, how a former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, allegedly received several payments suspected to be kickbacks from contractors through companies linked to him.
Michael Wetkas, an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), who testified using a chart presentation, said the contractors paid the alleged kickbacks, masked as payments for subcontracts, to the firms linked to Mr Lamido and his co-defendants.
Mr Wetkas said Mr Lamido allegedly received payments from Jigawa State contractors like, Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company, Interior Woodworks Ltd., and A.G Ferrero & Co Ltd, through the bank accounts of Bamaina Holdings Ltd. and Speeds International Ltd both of which allegedly have him and the 3rd defendant as sole signatories.
He said Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company received over N21 billion for contracts from Jigawa State government while the duo of A.G Ferrero & Co Ltd and Interior Woodworks Ltd. received over N8 billion and over N3 billion respectively for contracts they executed for the state.
The witness said records showed that A.G Ferrero paid over N114 million into the Skye Bank account of Bamaina Company Ltd.
According to him, Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company also paid over N116 million and N273.5 million into both the Access Bank and Unity Bank accounts of Speeds International Ltd, respectively.
He also noted that cheques with total worth of about N397.5 million from Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company were paid into the Unity Bank account of Speeds International Limited.
The witness also pointed out that cheques amounting to about N14.8 million were paid into the personal account of the first defendant, while N48 million was paid into Bamaina Company Ltd which has the first defendant as the sole signatory.
He said, “flowing from the activities and investigations conducted, it was revealed that no sub-contracts or contracts for the purchase of bitumen, diesel and steel iron, were executed by the defendants’ companies to warrant such payments.
“Meanwhile, within that period, over N500 million was said to be paid for the purported sub-contract or contract.”
Mr Wetkas concluded his evidence-in-chief on that note on Thursday.
The judge, Ijeoma Ojukwu, then adjourned the matter till May 19 and 20, 2021 for cross-examination of the witness.
The EFCC had in 2018 re-arraigned the two-term state governor on a 43-count amended money laundering charge alongside two of his sons – Aminu Lamido and Mustapha Lamido; Aminu Wada Abubakar, Bamaina Holdings Ltd and Speeds International Ltd.
They were accused of laundering N1.35 billion belonging to Jigawa State while Mr Lamido was the governor.
Mr Lamido, who was governor between 2007 and 2015, was accused of abusing his office by awarding contracts to companies where he had an interest, using his two sons as fronts.