EFCC witness: Lamido received kickbacks on contracts during his tenure as Jigawa governor

EFCC witness: Lamido received kickbacks on contracts during his tenure as Jigawa governor

Michael Wetkas, a witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has alleged that Sule Lamido, former governor of Jigawa, received kickbacks on contracts awarded during his tenure.

The former governor, alongside Aminu and Mustapha, his two sons, was arrested by the EFCC in 2015 over allegations of money laundering and corruption.

They were subsequently arraigned at a federal high court in Abuja.

In 2018, the EFCC rearraigned the trio on an amended 43-count charge for allegedly defrauding Jigawa state of N1.35 billion.

In a statement on Thursday, Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC spokesperson, said at the resumed hearing of the case, the witness demonstrated to the court how the defendants used their companies to receive several payments alleged to be kickbacks from contractors.

The contracts were said to be masked as sub-contracts which were awarded during Lamido’s tenure as governor.

“Wetkas, with the aid of a chart, showed the court how Lamido received payments into his personal accounts from Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company, Interior Woodworks Ltd., and A.G Ferrero & Co Ltd., who were contractors in Jigawa State via Bamaina Holdings Ltd. and Speeds International Ltd accounts which has him and the 3rd defendant, Mustapha, as sole signatories,” the statement reads.

“While Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company received over N21bn for contracts from the state, the duo of A.G Ferrero & Co Ltd and Interior Woodworks Ltd. received over N8bn and over N3bn, respectively, for contracts they executed for the state, records, according to the witness, showed that A.G Ferrero paid over N114m into the Skye Bank account of Bamaina Company Ltd.

“Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company also paid over N116m and N273,474,775.00, respectively, into both the Access Bank and Unity Bank accounts of Speeds International Ltd. He also noted that cheques totaling about N397,553,470.00 from Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company were paid into the Unity Bank account of Speeds International Limited.

“The witness also pointed out that cheques amounting to about N14.8m were paid into the personal account of the first defendant, while N48m was paid into Bamaina Company Ltd which has the first defendant as sole signatory.”

Wetkas was said to have concluded that “flowing from the activities and investigations conducted, it was revealed that no sub-contract or contracts for purchase of bitumen, diesel and steel iron, were executed by the defendants’ companies to warrant such payments”.

He also said in the documents recovered from Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company, where the transactions were supposed to be reflected if they were carried out, there were no entries for years 2007, 2008 and 2009.

The witness alleged that within that period, “over N500m was said to be paid for the purported sub-contract or contract”.

Ijeoma Ojukwu, the presiding judge, adjourned the matter till May 19 and 20, 2021, for cross-examination of the witness.

Lamido, a former minister of foreign affairs, was governor of Jigawa from 2007 to 2015.