A prosecution witness, Abu Sule, on Monday told a Federal High Court, Abuja, that he was used as a proxy by former Gov. Ikedi Ohakim of Imo State to acquire N270 million home in Abuja.
Mr. Sule gave the evidence at the resumed trial of Mr. Ohakim on charges of money laundering and false assets declaration preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The witness, who was examined by the EFCC lawyer, Festus Keyamo, said Mr. Ohakim pressured him to buy the property in his (witness) name after providing the cash.
“My name is Abu Sule, I am the Managing Director of Tweenex Consortium HD Limited.
“The defendant, in 2012, requested us to find a house for him to buy and we eventually got one at No. 60, Kwame Nkrumah Street, Asokoro, Abuja.
“The property was valued at 2.29 million dollars which was about N270 million as at that time.
“He brought the money in dollars. He said that I should go and pay for the house.
“The following day, I called the owner of the house, one Alhaji Isah Maidabino, and we met at Unity Bank, Maitama.
“Maidabino collected the money and he gave me the original title documents.
“I informed Ohakim and he told us the name we should use in the Power of Attorney and the Deed of Assignment.
“He said I should use the name of my company for the Power of Attorney and the Deed of Assignment and I went ahead to do it because Ohakim has been my benefactor”, he said.
The witness added that Mr. Ohakim instructed him to renovate the house and issued him with a tenancy agreement receipt on the pretence that he was renting the property from his company.
Mr. Sule also told the court that Mr. Ohakim gave him N20 million to renovate another of his houses at No.8 Haile Sellassie Street, Asokoro Abuja.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola adjourned the trial till Jan. 26, 2016 for the defendant’s lawyer, Awa Kalu, to cross examine the witness on the veracity of his testimonies.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the judge also granted the application of the defendant to travel abroad for medical treatment.
The application was argued by another lawyer on the defendant’s team, Chris Uche.
Mr. Uche had urged the court to release Mr. Ohakim’s international passport to enable him to travel abroad for four weeks for medical treatment.
Mr. Keyamo did not oppose the application, but said that the defense should produce the defendant at the next date of hearing.
Mr. Ademola ordered the release of the passport on the condition that the defendant must, upon his return to Nigeria within 78 hours, return the passport to the court.
The judge also ordered that Mr. Ohakim’s surety must sign an undertaking to produce him at the next adjourned date.
He said the surety would be remanded in prison if he failed to produce the defendant, and would be made to take the defendant’s position in the trial.