Ghost contractors got N1.7b under Aliyu, witness tells court

By Justina Asishana, Minna

Three contractors who allegedly collected N1.7 billion for jobs during the Babangida Aliyu administration in Niger State are nowhere to be found, a key prosecution witness, Muhammad Ndawuye Nmadu, has told the Minna High Court.

Nmadu, who was the Auditor General of the state from 2007 to 2020, said the N1.7 billion was given to the Ministry of Environment, which claimed to have shared it among three contractors.

The witness said due to incomplete documentation of the contracts, his office had to send an official to the addresses of the contractors.

He said the contractors could not be found at the addresses.

Aliyu, Umar Nasko and Tanko Beji are facing trial on an amended seven-count charge of money laundering and criminal breach of trust to the tune of about N2 billion before Justice Aliyu of the Niger State High Court.

Nmadu, who was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Faruk Abdullah, told the court that his responsibility as the auditor general was to audit the accounts of the state.

The witness averred that the audit team that examined the state’s accounts observed that payment vouchers were not checked by the Internal Audit and that payments were made to contractors without budgetary provisions.

The prosecution counsel, Faruk Abdullah, tendered the report of the Auditor General on the accounts of the state government for the year ended December 31, 2014, despite objections from the counsel to the first, second and third defendants, which were overruled by the trial judge.

The court accepted the document in evidence, marked as Exhibit ‘A’.

Justice Mikail Aliyu adjourned the matter till April 19 and 20for cross-examination of the first prosecution witness (PW1).

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