Corruption: Ex-Presidential Task Force Chairman fixed government fund in personal account, witness tells court

Posted by News Express | 13 April 2016 | 2,517 times

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The trial of the former Head of Service and Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Financial Action Task Force (PCFATF), Steven Oronsaye, continued today before Justice O. O. Goodluck of the FCT High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja.

Oronsaye is being prosecuted on a 2-count charge of abuse of office and obtaining by false pretence preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

As the Chairman of the PCFATF, Oronsaye, allegedly converted the total sum of N190m (one hundred and ninety million naira) belonging to the Committee to personal use by fixing the said sum in personal account in one of the new generation banks.

At an earlier sitting on March 15, 2016, the EFCC presented its first witness (PW1), Ngunan Kakwagh, an operative of the EFCC, who told the court how Oronsaye opened an account in Access Bank Plc in the name of the Presidential Committee on Financial Action Task Force, into which he received funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and converted a total sum of N190 million to personal use by investing the said sum in various fixed deposit accounts.

After the PW1’s testimony, the defence, represented by Joe Agi, SAN, sought leave of the court to move his pending bail application and allow for an adjournment to continue cross examination of the witness.

Justice Goodluck granted the defendant bail in the sum of N10 million with two sureties in like sum, both residents of FCT at the level of directors in the civil service or government establishments, either serving or retired.

Thereafter, the matter was adjourned to April 13 and 14, 2016 for continuation of trial.

At the resumed hearing today, Kakwagh under cross-examination, maintained that Oronsaye invested the funds of the committee in a fixed deposit account contrary to the circular issued by the Accountant General of the Federation, AGF, which only allowed government’s idle funds to be invested in treasury bills.

The EFCC also presented another witness, PW2, Olubunmi Ojoko, a staff of Access Bank Plc and Account Officer of the defendant, gave a shocking revelation on how Oronsaye opened an account with Access Bank Plc in the name of PCFATF without a mandate from the AGF.

Ojoko told the court that Oronsaye, in addition to investing the sum of N190m in fixed deposits, made personal withdrawals at different times to the tune of N33.9m. She further stated that Oronsaye issued cheques to several beneficiaries who withdrew from the account.

After listening to the testimony of PW2, the defence counsel, Kanu Agabi, SAN, asked for adjournment till the next day to allow him time to study the proof of evidence already admitted as exhibit by court to enable him cross examine the witness.

Justice Goodluck consequently adjourned to tomorrow for continuation of trial.

Source: News Express

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