The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has told a Federal High Court, in Abuja, how a private lawyer to the late Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Abdullahi Inde Dikko, Mr. Umar Hussaini, allegedly laundered N1.1 billion belonging to the NCS.
Mr. Hussaini is facing a 2-count charge of obtaining money by false pretense contrary to and punishable under the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006 before Justice Ijeoma Ojokwu, of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
An operative of the Commission, Mrs. Yetunde Ope Faniran, while testifying as a witness at the resumed trial, told the court that Mr. Hussaini, who was a private solicitor to late Dikko, received the sum of N1.1 billion as “completion security deposit’ for the sale of 120 housing units for officers of NCS from Cambial Nigeria Limited, through his law firm, Capital Law Office, under the false pretence that he was an external solicitor to Nigeria Customs Service.
The Court heard that the lodgment of the N1.1 billion has been masked from the statement of account of Capital Law Office with Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, however, the account statement of Cambial Nigeria Limited with Zenith Bank PLC, reflected the transfer of the money to the law firm owned by Hussaini, sometime in April, 2010.
The Court further heard that the defendant told officers of ICPC that the money paid to him on the instructions of the late NCS boss was the death benefit of a deceased relative of Dikko.
The witness added that the defendant could not however provide the name of the alleged deceased relative and that investigation revealed that Hussaini transferred much of the money to a Bureau De-Change (BDC), which was then converted into $3 million and handed over to Dikko through one of his subordinates, Alhaji Garba Makarfi.
Both Dikko and his associate allegedly denied receiving any money from Hussaini before the Commission, prompting him to tell investigators of ICPC how the money was spent.
Part of the money according to the accused was allegedly used to acquire a block of four-bedroom terrace apartment in Jabi, and Exotic Cuisine and Bakery in Gwarimpa, Abuja. He further revealed that the money was also used to establish Svitosh Farm in Kaduna State for the late NCS boss.
The prosecution witness, continuing in her testimony before the court, said that Dikko denied ownership of the properties which are currently standing in the name of Capital Law Office.
She added that an attempt was made by yet-to-be-identified persons to transfer the ownership of the properties to Dikko’s daughter, Aisha Dikko, through forgery of the signature of the accused. The case was thereafter adjourned to 28th and 29th April, 2021 for continuation of hearing.