Two prosecution witnesses appeared before the Federal High Court in
Abuja on Wednesday, narrating how the sum of N675,675,000 realised from
675,675 applicants who applied for job placement at Nigerian
Immigration Service in 2014, was shared.
two were testifying as the fifth and sixth prosecution witnesses in the
ongoing trial of the then Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, and others
on charges of recruitment fraud.
The Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission had instituted 11 counts against Moro; a former permanent
secretary in the ministry, Mrs. Anastasia Daniel-Nwobia; and a deputy
director in the ministry, Mr. Femi Alayebami.
The other defendant
is Drexel Tech. Nigeria Limited, a firm that carried out the NIS
recruitment exercise on behalf of the ministry.
were alleged to have defrauded a total of 675,675 Nigerian job seekers
to the tune of N675,675,000 through alleged fraudulent collection of
N1,000 per applicant as online application fee for jobs at the NIS.
Some of the applicants died during the exercise.
former Head of Finance of Payforme Services Nigeria Limited, Mr.
Augustine Ugorji, and an employee of Keystone Bank, Mrs. Bilikisu
Mohammed, testified as the fifth and sixth prosecution witnesses,
The two witnesses, separately led in evidence by the
Head of the prosecuting team, Mr. Aliyu Yusuf, told the court presided
by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba how the proceeds of the recruitment exercise
was shared among eight banks and other companies.
how Payforme was engaged by Drexel to provide online platform for
collection of application fees from the jobseekers.
former Head of Finance, Ugorji, who said he worked for Payforme from
2010 to 2016, said, “Drexel had a contract with Ministry of Interior for
“Provision of payment site or payment platform to receive the payment from applicants was sub-let to payforme.
process required the applicant to go to the website of the client. In
this case, indirectly, the client was Ministry of Interior, because we
did not have a direct dealing with the ministry.
completed the form before he would then pay. The applicants were given
opportunity to pay either through bank or card.
“The application would be validated and re-directed to the client’s site for update.
“Payforme does not receive cash, so we entered into agreement with banks to collect payments from the applicants.”
listed the banks engaged by Payforme as Union Bank, United Bank of
Africa, Diamond Bank, Zenith Bank, Sterling Bank, Ecobank and Enterprise
He said Interswitch was engaged to provide card as means of payment by interested applicants.
He said from the N1,000 paid by each applicant, Payforme was paid N150 out of which N70 went to the receiving bank.
said, “The agreement between Drexel and Ministry of Interior was for
each applicant to pay N1,000 and Drexel agreed to pay Payforme N150 from
“From the N150, Payforme was paid N80 and and N70 to the banks.
“The balance of N850 went to Drexel
“The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System, where banks do their clearing, was paid by Payforme in line with an agreement.
“We had 675,675 that made payment through our platform.”
said after the banks deducted their N70 commission from the N1,000 paid
by each of the applicants, the following amounts were remitted by each
of the banks:
Taking the witness stand after Ugorji was
cross-examined by the defence lawyers, Mohammed, who was Drexel’s
account officer with Keystone Bank, also narrated how th money remitted
to Drexel’s account was disbursed.
She said, “The
account was opened on August 19, 2013 as a corporate account with two
signatories — William Butau and Amodu Mahmud, who is the chief executive
officer of the company.
“The first transaction that went into the account was in September 2013 and the amount was N20,000 for legal fees.
“Then, there were two major inflows into the account. The first was sometime in October 2013, the amount was 462,470,000.
“This amount was put in a fixed deposit. The second inflow was sometime in November 2013.
“The amount was about N111,967,200.”
The prosecuting counsel indicated to Justice Nnamdi Dimgba that he still had four to five witnesses to call.
The judge adjourned till November 7 and 8 for further trial. (Punch)