Alleged N2bn Fraud: Court adjourns Oronsaye’s case to May 14

Posted by News Express | 9 May 2018 | 952 times

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•Stephen Oronsaye

 

Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja has adjourned the case of a former Head of Service, HoS of the Federation, Stephen Oronsaye, who is standing trial for an alleged N2billion pension fraud to May 14, 2018.

Oronsaye along with Osarenkhoe Afe, managing director, Fredrick Hamilton Global Services Limited, are alleged to be complicit in several contract awards during his tenure as HoS.

At the resumed sitting today, May 8, 2018 the first prosecution witness, Rouqayya Ibrahim, an EFCC operative, was cross-examined by Ade Okeaya-Inneh, SAN, lead counsel for Oronsaye, after prosecution counsel, O.A. Atolagbe informed the court that it was done with its evidence-in-chief.

Under cross-examination by Okeaya-Inneh, the witness who has been in the box since June 14, 2016, told the court that the Pension Fraud Team of the EFCC investigated the pension fraud in the Office of the Head of Service, OHSC.

She said: “We investigated payments to companies and individuals, and we observed that if we pick up the statement of account, what would be reflected would be payments for biometric enrolment contracts, consumables, and supplies for different types of narratives, but none of them existed except for Uptrack and Innovative Solutions”.

Ibrahim further added that, during investigations, it was observed that “the powers of the Permanent Secretary who should be the Accounting Officer were taken over by the Head of Service then Oronsaye, through his actions”.

She had during her examination-in-chief, also stated that a number of the contracts awarded were “fictitious contracts”.

“Many of the contracts did not exist, with the exception of one of the biometric contracts, specifically Uptrack and Innovative Solutions, and it was the one that was supposedly done, all other payments investigated, there were no contracts, there were no documentation for them,” she said.

She further added that: “All the payments were made during the tenure of Oronsaye as Head of Service, and though the Permanent Secretary ought to have been the Accounting Officer, it was not the case from findings during investigations.”

According to Ibrahim, “no contracts were awarded to Frederick Hamilton who received about N119 million for biometric enrolment”, stressing that Innovative Solutions was awarded the contract but brought in Frederick Hamilton and Uptrack, “who were asked to do the contract verbally”.

Okeaya-Inneh made reference to 66 bank accounts investigated by the EFCC during the course of investigations, and asked how the anti-graft agency came about labelling them as “illegal accounts”.

“We wrote to the Accountant General of the Federation and he referred to them as illegal accounts, and in the reply stated that the accounts were opened without his approval,” she said.

Ibrahim intimated the court that a Task Force set up at the Head of Service, had nothing to do with the EFCC’s investigation of the pension fraud.

Oluwole Aladedoye, counsel for Afe and Frederick Hamilton, rather than cross-examine the witness, however, sought for an adjournment, noting that he needed to bring some documents to court, which he wanted to confront the witness with.

But, Atolagbe objected to the application, arguing that the reason was not “cogent”, and “he has been aware of today’s proceedings and there had been four previous adjournments, so he had the opportunity to bring to court, the documents he needed”.

However, Justice Kolawole adjourned to May 14, 2018 “as it serves the interest of justice”, to allow time for Aladedoye for “cross-examination of PW1 and re-examination if need be.”

 


Source: News Express

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