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N270m ‘fraud’: Ohakim continues defence tomorrow

Prosecution counsel in the trial of former Imo state governor, Ikedi Ohakim, will tomorrow, cross-examine the defendant as he testifies in his defence before Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja. Ohakim, who served as the state governor, between 2007 and 2011, is being prosecuted on a three-count charge of money laundering and false asset declaration.

At the last proceeding, the prosecution counsel, Festus Okpe asked Justice Ademola for an adjournment to enable him prepare adequately to cross-examine the witness. Ohakim, when led in evidence-in-chief by his counsel, Professor Awa Kalu, SAN, denied using one Mr. Abu Sule, as proxy to acquire a N270 million home in Abuja.

He said, “I never used anyone as proxy to acquire a property; I never pressured him to buy a property for me in his (witness) name and I did not provide him with any cash,” Abu Sule, a Managing Director, with Tweenex Consociate H.D, had testified in the trial of Ohakim on charges of money laundering and false assets declaration preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

While testifying as a prosecution witness, he told the court, that the defendant had in 2012, requested his company to find a house for him to buy, which they eventually got one at No. 60, Kwame Nkrumah Street, Asokoro, Abuja. He told the court that the property was valued at N2.29 million dollars which was about N270 million as at that time. Denying the allegation made by the prosecution witness, Ohakim said, “I did not engage in any dollar transaction with anyone to purchase properties for me.

“Th ere was no point in time that I invited any Sule to my residence and I never gave out money to him in Ghana must go bags. I never conspired with anybody to steal or launder money for me.”

Th e former governor, not only denied concealing information about his assets, in his assets declaration form, maintained his assets declaration forms as at the time he filled them were properly documented. “I did not hide any information, I did not conceal any of my properties in the course of fi ling my assets declaration forms; I couldn’t have declared properties which do not belong to me,” he added.

It will be recalled that Ohakim was accused of purchasing a property at 60, Kwame Nkrumah Street, Plot No 1098, Cadastral Zone A04, Asokoro District, Abuja, with a cash payment of $2.29 million, which was said to be the dollar equivalent of N270 million, in November, 2008. He was also accused of failing to declare the property as part of his assets.

About Stories by Vivian Okejeme, Abuja

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