By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
Th e fi fth prosecution witness, Augustine Ugorji, in the trial of former Interior Minister, Abba Moro and three others, yesterday, revealed banks used by Drexel Nigeria Ltd, in the 2014 online recruitment exercise into Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).
Anesthesia Nwobia, an exPermanent Secretary in the Ministry and a Deputy Director in the Ministry, F.O. Alayabami are mentioned as codefendants in the matter.
When the matter came up yesterday, the witness, led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Aliyu Yusuf, narrated how the banks were involved.
Th e witness, who is the Head of Finance, (2010-2016) for Pay-For-Me Services Nigeria Ltd, an e-commerce company licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), stated that the company provided a platform through which e-commerce could be transacted.
In his testimonial, Ugorji told the court that Drexel was contracted by the Interior Ministry, and the company in turn had to sublet the contract of the NIS online recruitment to Pay-For-Me Services Nigeria Ltd.
“My Lord, Drexel had a contract with the Ministry of Interior, and they (Drexel) sublet to us to receive payment of N1000 for each application.
“Th e process for PFM is that the applicant goes to the site opened by Drexel for Interior, fi lls the form.
“Once the applicant clicks on ‘pay’, it will direct the applicant to PFM site, where there is an option to pay cash or through card.
“If by bank, you go to the bank of your choice listed on the site; if by card, the account number is there.
Going further in his evidence in chief, the witness said PFM had an agreement with Union Bank, UBA, Diamond Bank, Zenith Bank, Sterling Bank, Ecobank, Enterprise Bank and Interswitch.
Th e agreement between Interior Ministry and Drexel is for each applicant to pay N1000.
He added that Drexel had to pay N150 from the N1000 paid for each form to PFM.
“From the N150. 00 PFM agreed N80.00 for them, and N70.00 for each of the banks.
Th e balance of N850. 00 goes to Drexel, ” Ugorji revealed.
Moreover, the witness told the court that NIBSS “Acts as a central switch that all banks use for clearing and it is PFM that pay NIBSS in line with their own agreement.
PFM paid NIBSS from its own N80.00.
Th e witness stated that N675,675,000 was paid through (PFM) platform.
Giving the breakdown of fi gures remitted by each of the said banks, Ugorji disclosed that Zenith paid N22,425,390; Sterling Bank N38,013,420; United Bank for Africa N190,187,416; Diamond Bank N114,616,260; Union Bank N133,862,010; Fidelity N58,175,670; Enterprise bank N12,527,100 and Ecobank N48,456,870.
Th e prosecution witness added that the sum of N10,879,150 was remitted through card payments.
Ugorji said his company remitted the sum of N574,327,500 in two tranches through Keystone Bank.
Under cross examination by counsel to the 1st defendant, Paul Erokoro SAN, the witness said the PFM never transferred any money to Ministry of Interior.
Meanwhile, another witness, Mrs. Bilkisu Mohammed, a relationship offi cer with Keystone bank, told the court during cross examination by the defence team, that Drexel Tech did not transfer money to any of the defendants.
Th e trial judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba adjourned the case still November 7 and 8, for continuation of trial.