Stories by Vivian Okejeme
The trial of former Governor of Taraba state, Jolly Nyame over alleged misappropriation of Taraba funds to the tune of N1.64 billion, continues today with adoption of final address of the parties as the defence closes its case.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting Nyame for alleged misappropriation of that sum during his tenure as the governor of the state from 1999 to 2007.
At the last adjourned date, the former governor in his defence, stated that there is nothing abnormal in his approval of a total sum of N450 million for purchase of stationery in less than two months.
Under cross-examination by prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Nyame told Justice Adebukola Banjoko, 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, adding that the cheque was cashed on 14/02/2005 by one Abdulkadir N. Umar, a staff at the state’s ministry of finance.
Nyame denies the claims by Umar that out of the N200million that N165million was allegedly diverted to him on his (Nyame) order.
“It is not true. I did not instruct anybody from ministry of finance to transfer funds to the account of Salman Global.”
Further in the cross examination, 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.
He also maintained that it is reasonable for the state to release all these funds for stationery within a year,
“It is normal because I give approval to memos based on requirements and needs of the ministry requesting.”
He further denied the allegation that he ordered that the Chief Store Officer of the state should be queried when the officer questioned the whereabouts of the funds for the stationery.
“I would be surprise 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.
Earlier, Nyame confirmed that he approved N1million for himself as DTA before his trip to South Africa, while he approved N15, 000 for each of the 12 policemen and four SSS officials with him.
He said he approved N35, 000 for each of the three public officers with him and N22,500 for his orderly, while each of the 10 drivers with him got N20,000 for the five days they spent in Abuja before the trip.
The trial judge, Justice Banjoko, adjourned till today for adoption of final written address.