By Tony Orilade, Ag. Head, Media & Publicity
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on Wednesday June 26, 2019 closed its case in a 59-count charge, bordering on money laundering, criminal diversion of funds to the tune of N702,000,000 (Seven Hundred and Two Million Naira) against former Senior Special Assistant to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on Media, Doyin Okupe.
Okupe is facing prosecution by EFCC before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
At Wednesday’s proceedings, prosecution counsel, Ibrahim Audu presented his last and sixth witness, Shuaibu Salisu, former Director Administration and Finance in the Office of National Security Adviser ONSA, who presently works with the National Intelligence Agency, NIA.
Salisu told the court that “Sometime in 2012, Chief Okupe came to the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, and after their discussion, I was directed to make a payment of N50 million (Fifty Million Naira) to him.”
According to him, “Okupe provided his account details, where I paid the amount into the bank account of Value Trust Investment.”
He added that he was further directed by the ONSA to be paying N10 million monthly (Ten Million Naira) to Okupe for a period of over two years, which he said was reduced to a monthly N5million (Five Million Naira) towards the end of 2014 due to paucity of funds.
He said he made other payments to Okupe as directed, saying that at a point he was instructed to pay the defendant N6, 000, 000 (Six Million Naira).
Salisu further revealed that sometime in 2014, the then National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki directed that he paid the sum of N35million (Thirty-five Million Naira) to an account provided by Okupe and that he can also recall paying N50million (Fifty Million Naira) in cash to Okupe on Dasuki’s directive.
He told the court that he only obeyed directives in all the payments he made to Okupe and didn’t know what the monies were meant for.
When asked if there were evidences of the payments, the witness told the court that he usually provided Okupe with the payment vouchers, which he usually signed.
When also asked if all the payments were captured in payment vouchers, Salisu replied in the negative.
Speaking under cross-examination by Okupe’s counsel, Akinlabi Akinbade, the witness disclosed that Okupe was not the only person that received payments from ONSA. “Anybody that the NSA directs that payment be made to, we make payment,” he said.
Under same cross-examination, the witness said he had no reason to believe that the payments he made were from an illegal source. “Why would I assume it was illegal? I was only directed to make payments,” disclosing further that some of the payment instructions he carried out while working in the ONSA came verbally while some others came written, but that in the case of the payments to Okupe, all the instructions, he said were verbal.
The matter was adjourned to June 26, 2019 for the defence to open its case.