N20.8bn Pension Scam: Witness denies knowledge of cheques signed after e-payment

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Julius Adebulu, an Internal Auditor with the , Friday told an FCT High Court that he was not aware of cheques and vouchers signed after the implementation of  the e-payment system by the   September 2009.

Adebulu was testifying a filed by the EFCC against Esai Dangabar, Atiku Abubakar Kigo, Ahmed Wada, Veronica Onyegbula, Sani Zira and Uzoma Attang  a 20-count charge bordering stealing and criminal breach of trust.

At the resumed hearing Friday, Adebulu told the court that in January 2009 the of the Accountant General of the Federation passed a circular on the implementation of the e-payment system which the started implementing in September 2009.

He, however, added that before the implementation of the e-payment system, the office was using cheques and vouchers signed by the Director, , and Veronica Onyegbula, a cashier in the office.

Adebulu further told the court that he found out that the cashier was signing cheques and vouchers after the implementation of the e-payment system when he was invited by the EFCC. “My lord, I was given a statement of account of  the First Bank of Nigeria Plc by the EFCC, which covered the 303 cheques payment and when I added up the amount on the cheques it came  N14 .

“As an internal auditor, I did not receive any voucher those payments,” he said.

He said that the Police Pension office made payment before verification vouchers were issued and were passed through office, and the staff going for verification were paid electronically.

According him, the verification takes place four times in a year and the Police Pension office spent N400 on the exercise.

Adebulu also told the court that between 2008 and 2009, when he was not yet the head of audit, he had also approved up to four vouchers in the name of the director and Onyegbula while holding fort for boss. The key witness also disclosed that he received some ”strange” N7 in account.

“My lord, I got an alert of N2  and after some hours I got another alert of N5 on the same day. I was surprised and immediately alerted the Director of Finance, Mr John Yakubu, about the money.

“Yakubu told me that the money was meant for people with integrity and responsible people, and also for purpose and I questioned him which purpose?

“Yakubu said that the money was for the Police Pension Senate Committee and the for verification and that they wanted the money in cash. So I told him before I will go and cash the money, he will have to produce a voucher, and he did that eventually,” he said

The presiding judge, Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf, fixed Nov. 5 for continuation of hearing.