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Alleged N10bn Fraud: Drama in court as EFCC witness suddenly took ill while testifying



There was a mild drama in the Federal High Court in Abuja as a prosecution witness, Mr Rabiu Tafada in the ongoing alleged N10 billion fraud charge against Ali Bello, nephew of former Kogi Governor, suddenly told the court that he was not feeling well.

Tafada, who is the third prosecution witness was led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN.

Speaking through a court interpreter, the witness said;” I am presently not feeling well” and he was giving some water to take.

Before taking ill, the witness told the court that he was a Bureau De Change operator and that his company’s name was Rabiu Tafada Global Ltd.

He also said that he was familiar with the defendants but that he could not recall details of his transaction with them.
The prosecutor tendered some documents in evidence through the witness.

The documents comprised a hardcover notebook with some papers in it and another notebook.

When asked to confirm what was written in the books the witness said that he could not do so because he was not the person who recorded the contents of the book.

He said that he had boys in his office who take down all the records including the names of people who came to transact business with him and the amounts involved.

When asked specifically about one Sunny Bengazi and the N15 million recorded against the name, the witness said he would not recall the transaction.

Tafada also told the court that he did not know any one by the name Hudu or his driver.

He, however, said that whoever came to his office either came to change naira to dollar, dollar to naira, transfer some money into his account for him to give them cash or to borrow money.

It was at this point that the witness suddenly told the court that he was not feeling well as he had high blood pressure.

The judge asked an official of the court to get water for him which he drank.

The defence counsel, Mr Z. E Abass, and Mr Nureini Jimoh, SAN had earlier objected to the prosecution tendering the documents in evidence but said they would reserve their reasons until during the final address.

The trial judge, Justice James Omotosho adjourned the matter until Feb. 13, 22 and 23 for continuation of trial.

The judge asked the witness to use the opportunity of the adjournment to attend to his health and familiarise himself with the transactions that he said his boys recorded for him in the tendered exhibits.

Our correspondent reports that Bello, who is now the Chief of Staff to the current Kogi Governor, Ahmed Ododo, and Dauda Suleiman, are standing trial on a 10-count criminal charge brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The EFCC specifically accused them of engaging in misappropriation and money laundering.

In the charge, the EFCC claimed the defendants, with Abdulsalami Hudu, withdrew N10.2 billion from Kogi’s treasury for personal use.

The offence, the EFCC said, is contrary to the provisions of sections 18 (c), 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.”

Wandoo Sombo

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