Alleged N715m Fraud: Jonathan’s ex-Aide Testifies In Turaki’s Trial

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Umar Tahir, an ex-aide of former President Goodluck Jonathan, on Tuesday, told the Federal High Court, Abuja, that an ex-Minister, Taminu Turaki, released N200 million out of the N359 million for a security sensitisation programme in parts of the country in 2014.

Mr Tahir, who was Mr Jonathan’s Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Islamic Affairs, made the allegation before Justice Inyang Ekwo while testifying as the first prosecution witness in Turaki’s trial on money laundering charges involving about N854 million.

Turaki was Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs between 2013 and 2015.

He also served as the supervising Minister of Labour from 2014 to 2015 during Jonathan’s administration.

The former minister was arraigned on May 4 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside his former Special Assistant, Sampson Okpetu, and two firms – Samtee Essentials Limited and Pasco Investment Limited – on 16 counts of money laundering.

The EFCC alleged that the defendants used the companies to launder funds totalling about N845 million stolen from the two ministries where the minister held sway under Jonathan’s administration.

However, Turaki and Okpetu pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Testifying on Tuesday, Tahir disclosed that due to the shortage in the funds released, the programme that was planned to be organised in each of the 19 northern states and the six geo-political zones of the country could only be executed in the North-West zone, South-South zone, Abuja, Kaduna and Kano States.

“In January 2015, the president granted the approval that the Minister of Finance should release N359m for the programme,” he said.

The witness, however, alleged that out of the N359 million approved by the president, only N200 million was released to him.

The case was adjourned until September 21 for cross-examination of the witness.


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