N9m Money Laundering: Another witness testifies against Masari

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday presented the second witness in the ongoing trial of the former boss of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Umar Bature Masari before Justice O.E Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Masari is facing prosecution on 17-count charges, bothering on money laundering to the tune of N9 million from the EFCC; an offence that is contrary to Section 15(2)(b) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011, as amended by Act No.1 of 2012.

The defendant was arraigned on April 10, 2019. At the resumed hearing on the matter today, prosecution counsel, E.E Iheanacho reminded the court to proceed with the trial and that prosecution Witness Two (PW2), a Diamond Bank teller, Tosin Olaniniyi, was in court for testimony.

In his testimony, the witness told the court that Bature Umar was the operator of the account used in the alleged illicit money transfers.

He told the court that on November 27, 2014 he noticed a transaction involving the alleged N9 million, admitting that it was in favour of one Benjamin Aboho, adding that yet another N9 million transfer was carried out in favour of one Herman Hembe.

He also disclosed that on November 28, 2014, there was another transfer of N9 million in favour of one Udende Emmanuel, and another transfer in favor of one Honourable Okar Jeff.

He revealed that there was also another transaction that involved withdrawal of N4.5 million, via cheque by Bature Umar, himself.

The PW2 also told the court that there was an inflow (deposit) of N4 million on October 31, 2014, from one Frank Boye Nigeria Limited and an outflow (transfer) of N1 million on November 5, 2014 in favour of Abiodun Akambi.

“There were series of withdrawals between November 6 to 24, 2014. There were also cheque withdrawals one Hauwa Abubakar and another N2.5 million of self cheque withdrawal,” Olaniniyi stated.

He further stated that the balance of the money as at June 25, 2014, was N936, 231.18 and disclosed that there was another funds transfer of N10.2 miilion to the defendant’s account after the closing balance remained at N715,823.93.

Justice Abang adjourned the case to September 30 and October 8, 2019 for further cross-examination of the second prosecution witness and continuation of the trial.

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