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‘N74bn recovered by Maina’s team used to finance 2012 budget,’ Witness tells court

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Ngozika Ihuoma, first witness in the trial of ex-chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina, told the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday that the N74 billion recovered by the team was used by the Federal Government to finance 2012 Budget.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Maina alongside his firm, alongside his firm, Common Input Property, and Investment, on a 12-count charge of money laundering to the tune of N2billion.

Justice Okon Abang had on February 25 ordered the ex-pension chief to open his defence on the charges after the prosecution closed its case.

Ihuoma, who is a management consultant with Crincad & Cari Nigeria Limited, was led in evidence-in-chief by Maina’s lawyer, Adeola Olawale.

The firm was contracted by PRTT for consultancy services.

The witness said the task team recovered N282 billion cash and 222 choice properties as proceeds of fraud valued at N1.6 trillion.

He added that the money was warehoused at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by the EFCC and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

READ ALSO: Maina missing, judge absent as money laundering trial postponed

According to him, out of the recovered funds, N74 billion was used to finance 2012 budget.

Ihuoma revealed that former President Goodluck Jonathan issued a directive that 2.5 percent of the recovered funds (N7.05 billion) be used to run the PRTT’s official duties.

He, however, disclosed that the funds were never released despite several requests and reminders to the Ministry of Finance and the National Assembly.

“Former President Jonathan ordered N7.05 billion to be released to the task team to offset the fees of their consultants and ICT experts among others.

“That has not been honoured till today, instead, the EFCC was mobilised against Maina,” he said.

Justice Abang adjourned further hearing in the matter till March 4.

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