Fraud: Nyame justifies spending N450m on stationery
Former Taraba State governor Jolly Nyame yesterday told an FCT High Court in Gudu that there was nothing abnormal in his approval of N450 million for purchase of stationery in less than two months.
Under cross-examination by prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Nyame confirmed that he approved a memo on 30/12/2004 requesting for N250 million for the purchase of stationery and the money was released on 04/01/2005.
He also confirmed that barely a month after the release of the N250million, he also approved another memo requesting for N200million for the purchase of additional stationery and that the cheque was cashed on 14/02/2005 by one Abdulkadir N. Umar, a staff at the state’s ministry of finance.
Of the N200million, N165million was allegedly diverted by Nyame when Umar deposited the sum to the account of Salman Global Ventures, a company carrying out a project for the state.
Confronted with this allegation and Umar’s statement that he made the deposit on his order, Nyame said, “It is not true. I did not instruct anybody from ministry of finance to transfer funds to the account of Salman Global.”
Nyame also confirmed that he approved another N20 million for the purchase of stationery in October same year for the office of the SSG less than 8 months after N450million was already approved for same.
Asked if it was reasonable for the state to release all these funds for stationery within a year, Nyame said, “It is normal because I give approval to memos based on requirements and needs of the ministry requesting.”
He further denied allegation that he ordered the Chief Store Officer of the state to be queried, when the officer questioned the whereabouts of funds for the stationery.
“I would be surprised to hear that the chief store officer said he did not see any stationery bought with the N250million, but I did not know anything about the query except now in court,” he said.
In ending his cross-examination, Jacobs asked whether with all the revelations and controversies that trailed the approval of the N470million for stationery, Nyame did not owe his state an apology for enriching himself with their funds; to this, Nyame reiterated that his responsibility stopped at signing the memos.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Nyame for alleged misappropriation of N1.64 billion during his tenure as governor from 1999 to 2007.
The trial judge, Justice Adebukola Banjoko, upon the defence closing its case, adjourned the matter to December 5th for adoption of final written addresses.
Chairman, Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSCON), Dr Mike Emuh, during his visit to Media Trust Headquarters in Abuja yesterday