Vincent Odafe, the fifth prosecution witness in the fraud trial of Tanimu Turaki, former Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs on Monday, November 9, 2020 continued his testimony against the ex-minister before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Under cross-examination by defence counsel, Joe Kyari Gadzama, SAN, Odafe, who was director, Finance and Administration in the ministry, denied being coerced into giving evidence against Turaki by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. Rather, he stated that the former minister breached regulations in handling the ministry’s finances.
He noted that the minister’s approval ceiling was up to N1billion if he goes through the Ministerial Tenders Board but that Turaki made such approval, ignoring the board.
While explaining that he was not induced to testify against the defendant, Odafe affirmed that he did not give financial inducement to EFCC’s investigative officer, Belloji Hamma Adama, and that the officer never approached him for bribe.
Upon cross-examination by the third defence counsel, Abdulazeez Ibrahim, the witness disclosed that he has so far refunded N35 million through the EFCC out of his share of N45 million from an N80 million contract in the ministry, adding that the process was still ongoing, having been told by the Commission that he not qualified to execute contract as a civil servant.
The matter was adjourned till November 10, 2020 for continuation of trial.
Turaki is being prosecuted by the EFCC, alongside his special assistant, Sampson Okpetu and two companies: Samtee Essentials Limited and Pasco Investment Limited on a 16-count charge, bordering on fraud and misappropriation to the tune of N714,670,014.87 (Seven Hundred and Fourteen Million, Six Hundred and Seventy Thousand, Fourteen Naira, Eighty- seven Kobo).
Aside being minister for Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs from 2013 to 2014, Turaki served as minister of Labour from 2014 to 2015.