99MIL NAIRA FRAUD: EFCC PRESENTS WITNESSES AGAINST BORNO BUSINESSMAN

The trial of Alhaji Muhammed Kyari who is facing a-two count charge of criminal conspiracy and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of N99, 750,000.00 (Ninety Nine Million, Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) commenced on Friday, July 9, 2021 before Justice Umaru Fadawu of the Borno State High Court sitting in Maiduguri with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, presenting three witnesses against the defendant.

The defendant was arraigned on June 21, 2021, alongside his company, Kyari and Sons Company Nigeria Limited.

He is allegedly to have approached one Alhaji Abubakar Moforo and collected food items on credit, to supply to a Non- Governmental Organization and promised to pay the victim within forty-five days but reneged on his promise.

At today’s hearing, the first prosecution witness, Alhaji Abubakar Moforo (victim), while being led in evidence by counsel to the EFCC, Mukhtar Ali Ahmed, told the court that ‘‘he is a businessman selling food items and that he met with the defendant during a Lesser Hajj in 2018 and they started a relationship.

‘‘After the  Lesser Hajj, the defendant asked me to help him finance a contract that was awarded to him by an NGO for the supply of rice, maize, sugar and cooking oil, of which I obliged his request.

‘‘I directed my lawyer to draft an agreement between me and the defendant but Kyari refused to sign and I asked him to forget about the whole business but he later agreed to sign the agreement’’.

According to PW1, the food items were released in the presence of the victim’s Sales Manager, one Alhaji Tar Bukar and the defendant promised to pay within forty-five days.

Moforo also told the court that he supplied 135 bags of beans and maize, 1,600 bags of rice and sugar of 50kg and 2,400 Jerri cans of cooking oil totaling N99, 750,000.00 to the defendant.

Mukhtar Ahmed also called Alhaji Tar Bukar ( PW2),  Sales Manager to the victim, who testified that, on 31 July, 2018 his boss (PW1) called him on phone and requested his presence.

“I was introduced to the defendant and equally informed by my boss that the defendant is in need of some food items for supply to an NGO’’, he said

He corroborated the evidence of PW1, to the effect that the defendant was given 135 bags of beans and maize, 1,600 bags of rice and sugar of 50kg and 2,400 Jerri cans of cooking oil totaling N99, 750,000.00.

Furthermore, PW3, David Jacob Ikechukwu, an operative of the EFCC, while being led in evidence, told the court that his team received a petition with an attachment, a letter of ‘‘agreement’’ from one Konto Saje Masu and Co. Chambers on behalf of the victim,  Alhaji Bukar Moforo against the defendant.

Ikechukwu said, upon the receipt of the petition, both the petitioner and the defendant were invited to the EFCC office alongside their counsel.

‘‘They all reported to the office; they were interviewed and the defendant’s statement was obtained in the presence of his lawyer’’, he said.

PW3 also revealed that, during investigation, the defendant admitted purchasing the goods and confirmed the delivery and collection of the items, which he claimed were supplied to an NGO, Medicine Aux Tours De La Terre (M.T.T).

Ikechukwu said a “Letter of Investigation Activity” was written and dispatched to the said NGO to confirm the genuineness or otherwise of the supply contract, but the letter was returned with a “note”: “packed out”.

The petition against the defendant, statements of the defendant, letters of investigation of activities and responses to the letters and a letter written to Medicine Aux Tours De La Terre (M.T.T), were tendered and admitted in evidence and subsequently marked Exhibit A to D respectively.

EFCC prosecutor, Ahmed informed the court that he was through with his witness and has no intention to call more witnesses. He therefore closed the prosecution’s case.

But rather than open his defense, counsel to the defendant, B.G Mohammed opted for a “no case submission”.

Justice Fadawu, adjourned the case till July 16, 2021 for hearing on the ‘no case submission’ and ordered the remand of the defendant in Maiduguri Medium Custodial Centre.

Wilson Uwujaren

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