The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, October 16, 2019, presented a fourth Prosecution Witness (PW4) in the ongoing trial of the former director general of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, SMEDAN, Umar Bature Masari, before Justice Okon Abang, of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Masari is facing prosecution for fraud, money laundering and gratification in an amended 22-count charge to the tune of N108million when he was first arraigned before the trial Judge on April 10, 2019 on a 17-count charge.
At the resumed hearing, the witness, a civil servant with SMEDAN, Abu Ozigi, while being led in evidence by prosecution counsel, E.E. Iheanacho, told the court that he knew the defendant well as the former director general of SMEDAN, and had worked with him since April 11, 2005.
He said they worked together in executing specific projects through SMEDAN capital allocation and zonal intervention programmes, which were basically constituency projects, located in the various senatorial districts and federal constituencies.
“We do this through capacity building and facilitating their (national legislators) access to the resources required for their development such as work space, equipment and machinery”, he said.
“We undertake their responsibilities by executing specific projects through SMEDAN capital allocation and zonal intervention programmes which are basically constituency projects located in the various senatorial districts and federal constituencies.”
Giving his evidence, he stated that on November 27, 2014, that the defendant who was his boss invited him to his office and told him that he needed to give money to honourable members, namely: Honorable Abubakar Wambai, and late Engineer Anthony Madawatti and he volunteered his company, Kike Engineering Services Ltd, bank account details and that the following day the sum of N9million was transferred to the account.
According to the Ozigi, his boss, the defendant instructed him to transfer N3million to the late Honorable Madawatti, and N2, 850,000.00 (Two Million, Eight Hundred And Fifty Thousand Naira), only to Honorable Abubakar Wambai, who had earlier told him to retain N150, 000 (0ne Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira), only, adding that the defendant later told him to transfer the balance of N3million back to the defendant’s account.
Ozigi also told the court that he knew Honourable Madawatti and Honourable Wambai prior to the instructions given to him by the defendant and added that they were frequent visitors to their office just like many other members of the National Assembly.
After the cross-examination of the witness by the defence counsel, M.A. Magaji, the trial judge adjourned the case to November 4, 2019, for continuation of trial.