I misplaced N68.9m to an alleged fraudster — Ex-Aviation Minster tells courtroom

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A former Minister of Energy and Metal, Mr. Bashir Dalhatu, on Wednesday, informed an FCT Excessive Court docket in Zuba, FCT that he misplaced N68.9 million to a fraudster.

Testifying as a prosecution witness in a case filed by the EFCC in opposition to a businessman, Imeh Akpan, charged with two counts bordering on Legal Breach of Belief,
The previous minister mentioned he was launched to the accused particular person someday in 2004 via his pals late Alhaji Aliyu Alkali and one Haruna Ningi.
He alleged that the accused particular person informed him to put money into the Aviation business by shopping for shares within the airline he was floating.

”He knowledgeable me that the enterprise was worthwhile at the moment. He mentioned the enterprise was a win-win.
“On the finish of the presentation, I accepted to purchase shares to the tune of N1. 8  million representing 34 per cent of the corporate share capital.
”He (the accused particular person) informed me that he was within the means of negotiating with First Atlantic Financial institution to acquire a mortgage facility for his firm ”Commodore Aviation Providers,’’ he mentioned.
The previous minister mentioned the accused informed him that the mortgage facility was to allow the accused particular person to purchase plane for use within the nation by the Commodore Aviation Providers.
Dalhatu informed the courtroom that the accused met him once more and request to help him with N50 million to facilitate the mortgage.

”I agreed to supply the N50 million safety deposit on two situations; one of many situations was to open an curiosity saving account within the title of Commodore Aviation Providers and maintain the cash there.
”The second situation I gave him was that the curiosity that accrued from the account can be his personal and it ought to be reverted again to him on the finish of six months,” he mentioned.
Dalhatu defined that the six months interval was the time inside which he and the financial institution agreed to disburse the funds to the corporate.
The previous minister mentioned that it was additionally agreed that neither he nor the accused particular person would take away any quantity from the safety deposit account, including that on this understanding, an account was agreed to be open with two signatories.
Dalhatu mentioned on Could 28, 2004, a cheque of N58 million representing the shares and safety deposit was delivered to Commodore Aviation Providers and acknowledged by Haruna Ningi on behalf of the corporate.
He mentioned the accused particular person additionally approached him to supply additional funding of N10. 7 million to kick-off the operation of a Nationwide Airline within the Niger Republic which he additionally obliged him.
‘’After some time, it occurred to me that the enterprise was inferior to he mentioned.
‘’The accused particular person pissed off my request for an audit train regardless of my persistence.
‘’I, due to this fact, requested the accused particular person for the return of my cash and no matter curiosity which may have accrued on the cash that additionally turns into not possible.
‘’I later found that the cheques for the safety deposit have been credited to an present account of Commodore Aviation Providers an similar to the prompt title given to me the place he was a sole signatory,’’ he mentioned.

He mentioned in Jan 2013, he went to EFCC with a petition enumerating the frictions between him and the accused particular person and urged the fee to research and prosecute him in the event that they discovered sufficient grounds to take action.
After his testimony, the Defence Counsel, Mr. Steve Imoke, prayed for an adjournment to cross-examine the minister.
The EFCC Counsel. Mrs. Fatima Ado-Gwaram didn’t object to the appliance.
Justice A.O.Ebong granted the prayers of the protection counsel and adjourned the matter till March 2 for cross-examination.
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