EFCC Closes Case Against Former Chief of Service Steve Oronsaye

The Commission of Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC), on Thursday, rested its case on a pension fraud trial involving a former Federation Service Chief, Stephen Oronsaye. The anti-corruption agency closed its case with the testimony of its twenty-first prosecution witness. Now it will be the turn of Mr. Oronsaye and his co-defendants to open their defense to the 49 counts of money laundering involving N2 billion in public funds. EFCC alleged in the charges before the Abuja Federal High Court that the defendants diverted the money through a biometric enrollment contract purportedly for the reform of the civil service pension system. Oronsanye faces the charges along with Osarenkhoe Afe, the CEO of Fredrick Hamilton Global Services Limited, a firm targeted by the anti-corruption agency in the scam. In November last year, a former chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Force (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, accused of the extensive pension reform scam, was jailed for eight years by the Abuja Federal High Court for money laundering offences. money involving N2 billion. The sentence convicting and imprisoning Mr. Maina was introduced by the EFCC to strengthen its case against Mr. Oronsaye and his co-defendants on Tuesday. Testimony of the last prosecution witness The EFCC’s 21st and final prosecution witness, Umar Abba Tilde, a compliance officer at Zenith Bank Plc, while testifying about two million naira withdrawals from a pension account, on Thursday, said that Mr. Oronsaye at no time was a signatory to the federal pension accounts. . It was also unable to determine whether Mr. Oronsaye ever made an endorsement for the retirement of the accounts. Regarding the outflows from one of the accounts, the banker told the trial judge, Inyang Ekwo, that two withdrawals, N161,472.00 million and N28,375,000, were transferred from a pension account to a company on July 6, and July 7, 2010 respectively. Led in evidence, by EFCC lawyer Oluwaleke Atolagbe, Mr. Tilde confirmed that the mandates related to the pension accounts were submitted by his bank to the EFCC in January 2020 based on a request. The witness further told the court that a letter dated August 24, 2010, signed by Mr. Oronsaye as the then Federation Head of Service (HoS), instructed the bank that all electronic payments must henceforth be endorsed. office end. However, upon cross-examination by Mr. Joe Agi, a Senior Advocate for Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Oronsaye’s lead defense attorney, the witness said that the former HOS did not sign a mandate for the two transfers made in 2010. Furthermore, he informed the judge that Mr. Oronsaye was not a signatory to the pension accounts and added that Shuiab Sani Teidi, Eunice Chide, Mohammed Kaltung Ahmed, Hassan Mohammed and Attah Danladi were the signatories to the accounts. Responding to a question, the witness also admitted that he was at the bank’s branch in Kano when the two transfers were made and that he would not know if Mr. Oronsaye ever made any endorsements. Prosecutor closes case At the end of Mr. Tilde’s testimony, the prosecutor announced the closure of the EFCC’s case against the defendants. Twenty other prosecution witnesses had previously testified with various documents presented by the anti-corruption agency as evidence. The defense attorney, Mr. Agi, requested an adjournment to open his client’s case. He stated that he would call two witnesses. Subsequently, the judge set March 9 and 10 for Mr. Oronsaye to open his defense. background In 2014, PREMIUM TIMES exclusively reported how the Federation’s Auditor General indicted Mr. Oronsaye for the N123 billion allegedly siphoned off between 2009 and 2010 under his supervision. The 169-page report titled “Special Audit of Civilian Pension Accounts” uncovered huge financial irregularities, outright theft and bribery. The report found that the pension payroll was never subject to internal audit between June 2009 and December 2010; and that more than N52 billion paid as a monthly pension under Mr. Oronsaye remained unaccounted for. Similarly, another witness, Salami Adesoka, told the court how in 2015, he was instructed by the then Permanent Secretary in the HoS Office to submit names of business accounts. Furthermore, during Mr. Maina’s trial, Rouqquaya Ibrahim, an EFCC investigator, told the court how investigations revealed that Messrs. Maina and Oronsaye allegedly used “five modules” to loot around N14 billion from the accounts. of pension. advertisements Ms. Ibrahim had said that Mr. Oronsaye illegally operated 66 accounts in the name of his office without the approval of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation. Read More Related News Here Let here it in the comment below if you do have an opinion on this; EFCC Closes Case Against Former Chief of Service Steve Oronsaye