By Toluwanimi Adeeko
Mr. Taiwo Olorunyomi, an Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) investigation officer, on Friday told an FCT High court, Apo that Bature Masari, former Director General, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency (SMEDAN), gave N50 million to some members of the House of Representatives.
The witness, Olorunyomi, made the allegation while testifying in the ongoing case of contract fraud filed against Masari.
Masari, is charged with 27 counts bordering on fraudulent award of constituency projects contracts worth N184.5 million.
The witness informed the court that based on a petition written by one Jubril Usman against Masari, the ICPC began investigating the award of contracts made by Masari.
He reported that, in the course of investigation, the anti-graft commission, requested for the defendant’s bank statements from Guaranty Trust Bank, Diamond bank and First bank.
While analysing the bank statements, he said, the ICPC discovered that some contractors made several payments into the defendant’s account.
Olorunyomi informed that one of such payment is N50 Million deposited into the defendant’s Diamond bank account by one Hamshaki Ventures.
He said Hamshaki Ventures is one of the contractors that collected contracts from Masari during his tenure as DG.
The witness also alleged that the money, was shared to four members of the National Assembly, representing Benue.
He alleged that N9 million each was given to Heman Hembe, Benjamin Aboho, Orker Jev and Emmanuel Memga for contractors to execute their constituency projects.
“We discovered in the course of investigation that Hamshaki Ventures, a company which had got several contracts with SMEDAN lodged about N50 Million on Nov. 27, 2014, through the Diamond account of the defendant.
“The bank statement indicated that this N50 million was distributed to the aforementioned honorable members.
“These honorable members of the National Assembly representing Benue State had constituency projects and these contractors carried the projects out,” he said.
Olorunyomi further said that they discovered that the defendant gave another N3 million each to Hon. Anthony Madwatte and Hon. Mahmud Wambai of Adamawa states, to give constituency projects out.
He also reported that when the defendant was questioned in regards to the purpose of the payments, Masari said the money was payments for farm produce supplied to contractors.
The witness also said that Masari promised to produce the receipts of the payments but failed to do so.
Olorunyomi tendered evidence that include the bank statements, Masari’s written statement and payments vouchers to support his claim and were marked as exhibits.
Counsel to the defendant, Etim Okoye, prayed the court for an adjournment to enable him prepare for cross- examination.
Justice Olukayode Adeniyi adjourned the case until to June 25 for further hearing.