Njideka Nnan, a prosecution witness in the trial of Darius Samson, who is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on an eight-count charge bordering on defrauding the Federal Government of N11million, on May 16, 2017, gave details of how the fraud was perpetrated.
Testifying before Justice A.R. Mohammed of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT High Court, Jabi, Nnan, who is an operative with the EFCC, told the court that the investigation and prosecution of the defendant “was triggered by a letter dated February 15, 2016, from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, OAGF addressed to the Chairman EFCC, through the federal ministry of finance requesting for information of some staff suspected to be ghost workers”.
How the fraud was perpetrated
“The defendant was receiving salaries at different times using fictitious names like Momoh Hassan, Umar Musa and Umar Musa Obele to run and operate different salary account, claiming that they were under the employment of the federal ministry of works,” she said.
Nnan, who was led in evidence by prosecution counsel, Deborah Eteh, further told the court that the letter from the ministry of finance dated February 23, 2016 referenced HMF/ FMF/ DSP/ PFI/ 2016/1, and which was signed by the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, requested the EFCC to investigate fraud linked to the payroll system of the requested Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry of Works, National Population Commission.
She further told the court that investigations and various analysis of documents showed that Samson had received over N5million as salaries from the agencies.
Eteh, thereafter, sought to tender the letter in evidence. However, counsel for Samson, Adedapo Adejumo, objected to its admissibility arguing that “the letter was supposed to have been certified by the three agencies Federal Ministry of Finance, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and the National Population Commission, and not EFCC”.
However, Eteh faulted Adejumo’s argument citing Section 104 (1) of the Evidence Act 2011, which states that: “It is the public officer in custody of a document that should certify it”.
Darius Samson’s statements made under Duress
The prosecution thereafter sought to tender Samson’s statement in court. However, the defence argued that the statement was obtained under duress.
Justice Mohammed, while admitting the letters written by the EFCC to the banks in the course of the investigation, as evidence, however, rejected the letters from the OAGF, Federal Ministry of Works and National Population Commission.