Lamido authorised payments for non-existent contracts – Witness

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Abuja  –   Mr Michael Wetkas, a prosecution witness in the trial of former Jigawa Governor, Sule Lamido, told the Federal High Court, Abuja on Wednesday that the defendant authorised payments for contracts not executed.

Wetkas told the court that Lamido authorised that sums be paid into the bank account of Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company for contracts that never existed.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Lamido and his sons, Aminu and Mustspha, are facing trial on 27 counts bordering on money laundering.

Wetkas told the court, presided over by Justice Adeniyi Ademola, that investigations into the alleged fraud were carried out from 2007 to 2015.

Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Mr Chile Okoroma, Wetkas said his investigating team visited Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company to investigate the purported contracts.

He said a manager of the company, Mr Sylvester Agoha, who earlier agreed to have supervised the execution of the contracts, later denied knowledge of them.

Agoha said that the contract papers were only presented to him to sign, the witness said.

Wetkas said his investigation revealed that Lamido and his sons’ companies — Speeds International Limited, Bamaina Holding Company and Gada Company — allegedly supplied bitumen, iron rods and diesel to the Dantata Yard in Kano.

He said a member of the investigating team, Mr Kabiru Mohammed, travelled to the Kano office of the company to verify the alleged supplies of bitumen, Iron rods and diesel.

He said that his teammate was informed by the person responsible for receiving such items in Kano that he had neither heard of such companies nor received supplies from them.

Wetkas said the position of the investigation was that such contracts never existed and such items were never delivered.

“However, there were payments made by the Jigawa State Government into the Access Bank Plc account of Dantata and Sawoe Construction company between 2008 and 2009 for the said contract,” he said.

He said a forensic report from the team’s investigation revealed that transactions for the contracts were fraudulently entered into the company’s records 2014 and 2015 instead of 2010 and 2013 when the contracts were allegedly executed.

Ademola adjourned proceedings in the matter to Thursday for continuation of the witness’s testimony. (NAN)