By Robert Egbe
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday re-arraigned a former Executive Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NNDC), Mr. Tuoyo Omatsuli and three others, for alleged N3.6billion fraud.
Omatsuli is standing trial alongside second to fourth defendants Don Parker Properties Ltd, Francis Momoh and Building Associates Ltd at the Federal High Court in Lagos.
The defendants were first arraigned before Justice Saliu Saidu in November 2018.
on Monday, the EFCC re-arraigned them before the same judge on an amended 52-count charge.
The commission alleged that they conspired to disguise the illegal origin of the N3.6billion “being proceeds of unlawful activity; to wit: corruption and gratification.”
In another count, it alleged that the N3.6billion was a bribe received by Omatsuli from Starline Consultancy Services Ltd, a firm engaged by the NDDC to help it recover its statutory three per cent annual budgets of oil and gas producing companies in the Niger Delta.
The defendants pleaded not guilty.
Justice Saidu admitted them to bail on the existing terms.
He granted the EFCC’s application for trial to continue, following which prosecution counsel Ekene Iheanacho called his 13th prosecution witness Usman Adamu.
Adamu, a senior EFCC detective, said Omatsuli used his position to convert the sum and acquired properties through Building Associates Ltd.
Yusuf said: “Sometimes in 2016, the commission received an intelligence alleging that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) made fraudulent transfers of funds to some companies.
“One of the companies mentioned is Starline Consultancy Services. The intelligence was accepted and assigned to my team.”
Yusuf further disclosed that about N12 billion was received by Starline Consultancy Services from the NDDC, out of which the firm also paid out N3.6 billion to a company known as Building Associates Ltd in tranches.
He said investigations later showed that Building Associates was owned by Francis Momoh (2nd defendant).
“From the money received by Building Associates, the 2nd defendant (Francis Momoh) made some fund transfers to beneficiaries. One of them is Princely Estate. Jide Tinubu is also a beneficiary and many others.