An official of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mukaddas Mohammed, Wednesday gave account of how Raymond Dokpesi allegedly got N2.1billion for former President Goodluck Jonathan second term bid campaign.
Mohammed, who testified as the first prosecution witness of how former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki and Director of Finance and Administration at ONSA approved the payment of the money to Dokpesi through his company – DAAR Investment Company Ltd, said the transaction followed due process.
Led in evidence by lead prosecution witness, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Mohammad, Manager, Payment Section, CBN Abuja said, “My schedule of duty is effecting payments from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), basically receiving payment instruments or mandates brought by an authorised officer from an organisation.
“After receiving the payment mandate, it will be passed for verification, which include checks of signatories to the account, status, letter headed paper etc. We check whether all the due process has been followed and complied with. Afterward, we pass for payment by debiting the organisation and crediting the beneficiary.”
As soon as he was done with the explanation of his line of duty, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs SAN, put it to him if he knew the office of NSA.
He replied, “Yes, I know the of the NSA. That office is our customer; they do send payment mandates to us to effect. I know sometimes that I have effected payment for that company (DAAR Investment). I have documents in the office to show how payments have been effected in its favour.
“We got the payment mandate from the Office of the National Security Adviser, it was confirmed and passed for verification, after which payment was made. We debited the account of the ONSA and credited the beneficiary as instructed. We are the custodian of the account of ONSA,” Mohammad said.
Afterwards Jacobs submitted four documents (payment mandates) through the witness, which was admitted by the court as exhibits A1, A2, A3 and A4. He was queried further base on those exhibits.
Mohammad responding said, exhibit A1, dated January 21, 2015 had a mandate of N500million, and that, “the purpose of the payment is for media campaign, and the signatories to that account are the NSA himself and the Director of Finance, ONSA.” He further said that the payment mandate dated February 2, 2015 (exhibit A2), he revealed that the amount was N500million and the purpose was for payment of media campaign.
The witness said the payment mandates dated February 9 and March 19, 2015 authorised the payment of N620million and N500million respectively to DAAR Investment for the purpose of media campaign.
During cross-examination by Dokpesi’s lawyer, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), the witness said the payment complied with due process in the confirmation and verification of the mandates before payments were carried out.
He said though the signatories to the ONSA account have now changed, with a change in government, the process for payment was still the same.
“We have been effecting payments using the same procedure used during the time of Dasuki as NSA,” he said. On how ONSA’s account with the CBN was funded, the witness said “it is funded by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, from funds appropriated in the national budget by the National Assembly,” he said.
Trial judge, Justice John Tsoho has adjourned to November 18 for continuation of trial.
Dokpesi is facing trial for suspected involvement in the diversion of billions of naira meant for the purchase of arms by the former NSA, Dasuki.
Ebere Ndukwu …
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