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Only Dasuki can explain $40m pipeline contract – witness

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Principal witness, Ibrahim Mahe, in the ongoing trial of Azibaola Robert, cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan, and his wife, has told a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja that only former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, can explain why OnePlus Holdings Limited got a $40 million pipeline security contract.

Mahe, who recently retired as permanent secretary, Special Services Operations (SSO) in the NSA’s office, told the court that he paid Oneplus $40 million out of the $600 million special security fund sourced from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Under cross-examination by counsel to Roberts, Chris Uche, Mahe, who admitted serving only 11 months in the office of the NSA, also admitted that some other firms got security contracts in excess of $40 million approved for OnePlus.
He however failed to tell the court ‎presided over by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba the names of the companies that benefited from the remaining $560 million of the special security fund.

Also under cross-examination, Mahe admitted that prior to crediting the account of OnePlus‎ with the $40 million, at least nine officials in the office of the NSA minute on the payment warrant.

According to Mahe, OnePlus was paid based on the conviction that the firm’s security contract met due process requirements, having been endorsed by nine top officials of the ONSA.

Mahe told the court that the ONSA was not in the habit of advertising security contracts, also admitting that for security purposes, certain security contracts could be given code names.

He denied being part of any bidding process for the procurement of security gadgets, saying ‎his responsibility only entailed disbursing money already approved for security contracts.

Meanwhile, the second prosecution witness, Olabode Farinola, a compliance officer with Zenith Bank, while being led in evidence by Sylvanus Tahir, the prosecution counsel, informed the court that $39, 999, 985 was received by the accused persons on September 10, 2014.

Uche, counsel to the accused persons, when asked if he intend to cross examine the witness, asked the court for an adjournment on the grounds that the defence was not furnished with the witness statement nor was he listed among the witnesses in the matter.

“It is in this that the matter was to be adjourned, and as such, the defence cannot be compelled to cross examine a witness it had no fore knowledge of his testimony,” Uche argued.

At this point, the trial judge, Justice Dimgba had to adjourn the matter to October 6, 7, 19 and 20, 2016.