By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA– The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday, narrated before the Federal High Court in Abuja, how Shamsudeen, son of a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mr. Bala Mohammed, allegedly paid a cumulative sum of N1.1billion to acquire properties in different parts of Abuja.
The anti-graft agency brought one of its lead detectives, Mr. Ishaya Dauda, to testify against Shamsudeen before trial Justice Nnamdi Dimgba.
The ex-Minister’s son is facing 15-count money laundering charge alongside four firms- Bird Trust Agro Allied Ltd, Intertrans Global Logistics Ltd, DiakinTelecommunications Ltd and Bal-Vac Mining Ltd, which the EFCC said were used to launder over N1.1billion.
EFCC alleged that the 1st defendant, in a bid to conceal stolen funds at his disposal, resorted to acquisition of houses within the high brow areas in Abuja.
It told the court that Shamsudeen paid cash for five plots of land and four other choice properties in Abuja.
Some of the assets traced to him include five plots of land at Asokoro Gardens; House FS 2 B, Green Acre Estate Apo-Dutse, Abuja; House FS 1A, Green Acre Estate, Apo-Dutse; FS 1B, Green Acre Estate, Apo-Dutse, Abuja and House 2A, No. 7, Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja.
According to the agency, the 1st defendant whose father, Bala Mohammed, is equally facing six-count criminal charge before an Abuja High Court, paid for the assets in excess of the statutory limit, without recourse to any financial institution.
Aside allegation that he failed to declare his assets when he completed the EFCC Asset Declaration Form A, the ex-Minister’s son was further accused of concealing four accounts he operated with Standard Chartered Bank.
EFCC gave the said account numbers as 0001857597, 5001214708, 0000895037 and 000895020.
Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Mr. Ben Ikani, the witness told the court that apart from the intelligence received on the ex-Minister, he said additional intelligence was also received about Shamsudeen’s activities which revealed how he used the four companies charged along with him to acquire the properties.
The witness also revealed how the sums of N580,000 and $60,000 were recovered from Shamsudeen’s residence during execution of a search warrant.
He said, “I know the defendant.In the course of investigating a case assigned to me against the former FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, we received additional intelligence concerning purchases of properties by the defendant.
“We received intelligence that the defendant acquired several properties within the FCT.
“We worked on the intelligence and we have names of the the properties acquired through companies.
“The companies are Diakin Telecommunications Ltd, Balbac Minning Nigeria Ltd, Intertrans Logistics Global Nigeria Ltd.
“We extended our investigation to Corporate Affairs Commission. We confirmed that the companies were registered with the CAC.
“We invited the lawyers that registered these companies by name Ishiaku Shuaibu, who confirmed that he registered those companies.
“When we asked Shuaibu how he came about the companies, he informed us that one Abdulahi Sani, a staff with the Corporate Affairs Commission gave him the name. Abdullahi Sani was invited to our office and was asked about the companies. He also informed us that the defendant gave him the names of the companies to register.
“Our investigation was extended to Abuja Investments Development Company, where theGeneral Manager, Dr. Musa Musa, and the company secretary, Salisu Abdusalam, were invited to our office.
“Their statements were taken concerning the purchase of properties by the defendant using Diakin Telecommunications Ltd, Balbac Minning Nigeria Ltd, which they confirmed.
“They said he brought cash to their office.
“He bought to properties from Abuja Development Investments Company.
“The properties are located in Apo Area of Abuja
“Another property that was purchased by the defendant is at 7, Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja.
“He brought cash in company with a lady by name, Maimuna Aliyu Sanda. Together they took this cash to the developer, by name, Farouk Saleh.
“The cash was in dollars, they told me. But the worth of the property was N210m. Another property was purchased at Sunrise Hill, Asokoro. The defendant made lodgment of N80m to the then Managing Director of the company. The MD, Sami Apougaoude, a lebanese is late now.
“Then the defendant contacted a company, K & K Construction Company, to build the said property.
“He again made a cash lodgment of N100m to Sunrise Hill in error which was then transferred to K &K Construction Company into their Zenith Bank account.
“He then made a cash lodgment of N110m to K& K directly. Again, he made a lodgment of N200m to K and K Construction Company.
“All these lodgments were made in the name of the company Birtrus Agro Allied Limited. The last time he made lodgment to K & K Construction company was N296m.”
He said after the payments which he said were all receipted by K&K Construction Company, Shamsudeen “transferred all his interests to a company, Intratrans Global Limited.”
He said the commission then executed a search warrant at Shamsudeen’s house at 1B, Embu Street, Wuse II, Abuja.
“We recovered the sum of N580,000,0000 and $60,000 (USD). Both sums are with exhibit keeper of the commission,” he said.
The witness said the defendant was then taken to EFCC’s office in Abuja, where he (Shamsudeen) made statements and also completed the commission’s Asset Declaration Form.
The prosecuting counsel also tendered the statements made by the defendant and the asset declaration form completed by him.
The defence counsel, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), did not object to the admissibility of the documents.
Justice Dimgba admitted them as exhibits.
On Thursday, the defence insisted that the sums of money recovered from Shamsudeen’s house should be returned to him since they had nothing to do with the charges.
But the EFCC’s lawyer, Ikani, said the relevance of the sums of money would be determined at the final address stage.
He informed the judge that he would tender the sums of money through the EFCC’s exhibit keeper.
Justice Dimgba has adjourned the matter till December 11 to enable the defence lawyer to cross-examine Dauda who testfied as the PW-1.
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