The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on March 5, 2020 presented three witnesses, who testifying before Justice F. O. G. Ogunbanjo, of the Federal High Court, Abuja, revealed how the former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Nicholas Mutu Ebomo, his companies, Airworld Technologies LTD, Oyien Homes LTD, allegedly received more than N4.8 million gratification from oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region.
Ebomo, alongside Airworld Technologies LTD, Oyien Homes LTD, and one Blessing Mutu (now at large) is facing an 11-count charge for alleged abuse of office.
Testifying as the first prosecution witness (PW1), Bosu Aregbua, a chartered accountant for the project, narrated how N400 million was sent to the first defendant as a token for him to influence and facilitate a deal.
Aregbua also told the court that their share for the deal was 10 per cent and one per cent, respectively, adding that they met together at the National Assembly, NASS, with Starline Limited, where they filled transfer forms before authorising the transactions.
Inabua Michael West, a businessman with Starline Consultancy Services International Auditing and Account Service, who testified as the second prosecution witness (PW2), told the court that he knows Airworld Technologies Limited and Oyiem Homes Limited, adding that the company won the contract with NDDC, to recover and recollect the statutory levies from oil companies operating in Niger Delta region.
He said: “We sat with members of the Committee and chartered accountant for the project, team and the companies later paid the three per cent statutory levy to NDDC.
“When NDDC paid us our service fee, my principal officer suggested that we show appreciation to the Chairman of the Committee and Oyiem Homes Limited, and so we sent monies in tranches.
“The first amount was N400million, and was sent through our Heritage and Fidelity bank accounts.”
The third prosecution witness (PW3), Akindeye Ezekiel, a staff of Tariff Consultant, testified as to the role they played in executing the contract awarded to their firms by NDDC, to recover its three per cent levies, from some of the oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region.
Ezekiel, who led the audit team of the contract, equally told the court that what they did was to determine the three per cent that the companies paid to the NDDC, and recover them, adding that they were giving authorisation to represent NDDC and collect their levies.
Meanwhile the EFCC has recovered N150 million from Ebomo and is seeking an order of the court for forfeiture of the money to the Federal government, as proceeds of corruption.
Counsel for the EFCC, Ekele Iheanacho, prayed the court for an adjournment to enable him prepare an appropriate time for hearing on the forfeiture matter, adding that the prosecution will will file a response to the counter-affidavit of the defence, within seven days.
Justice Ogunbanjo adjourned the matter on the asset forfeiture motion, until April 22 and 23, and May 5, 6, 12 and 13, 2020, for continuation of examination of the witness.