By Joy Baba Yesufu
The trial of former governor of Kogi State, Abubakar Audu and Alfa Ibn Mustapha, former Director General, Directorate of Rural Development in his administration continued on Wednesday before Justice A.O Adeniyi of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, sitting in Apo, Abuja.
The accused persons are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for offences bordering on criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of N10,965,837,040 (Ten billion Nine Hundred and Sixty Seven Thousand and Forty Naira).
A statement signed by the commission’s Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren said at the resumed hearing of the case, the first prosecution witness, PW1, Lewechi Terry Ozoemenam, managing director of Leoflench Nigeria Limited who was lead in evidence by counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, told the court that his company executed most of the water projects of the Directorate of Rural Development from 1999-2003.
The statement said Ozoemenam stated that the contracts executed by his company were about seven and that, each was valued less than N18m (eighteen million naira). The projects include: drilling of boreholes in Abjukolo Egwe and Odolo; Ogbonicha, Olla water borehole water; Ajanojo, Omabave Ajakwu and Olubojo Ojuwo Uferene; Oyidi School and Ogbonicha.
The witnes said the total costs of the said projects were not up to N53m (fifty three million).
According to the statement “When shown exhibit P10- “a document containing a voucher, receipt and cheque for construction of borehole in Ogbonicha valued N49, 649,000.00 (forty nine million six hundred and twenty thousand naira), Ozoemenam denied ever executing such project, nor collecting such money.”
He said the receipt was forged as the signature was not his.
“I have never handled any contract up to N18m (eighteen million naira) let alone signing a project worth N49m (forty nine million naira)”, Ozoemenam told the court.