Ex-President Jonathan’s cousin defends use of $40m

Former President Goodluck Jonathan

Mr. Robert Azibaola, cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan, has explained that $40 million received from National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, was judiciously used, saying 10,000 militants were beneficiaries.

He told the Federal High Court, Abuja, when he was cross examined on Tuesday by Mr Sylvanus Tahir, the prosecutor.

He told the court that the money was used for the purpose it was meant for.

He said that he collected the money from the office of the former NSA, but that it was not converted to personal use.

“The money was for special assignment meant to assuage the security risk of the Niger Delta region of the country at that time and it was used for that purpose.”

He refuted the allegations that the money was siphoned using his company, One-Plus as a conduit.

Azibaola said that the money was paid into the company’s account without a formal contract, adding that it was for a “discreet security assignment.”

He further told the court that over 10,000 people or militants benefitted from the funds.

He added that the list of beneficiaries was not recorded because the NSA did not demand any.

He also said that since it was a discreet assignment, it was impossible to keep the list or give out receipts for payments.

Azibaola stated that payment to the beneficiaries was negotiated according to the capacity of each of the beneficiaries.

When the prosecutor reminded him that the document from ONSA said the money was for the supply of “tactical communication equipment”, Azibaola said “it may mean something else in military parlance.”

Azibaola is standing trial for allegedly receiving $40 million from the Office of the NSA without a valid contract and diverting same to personal use.

He was charged with his wife, alongside their company, One Plus Holdings Nigeria Limited in 2016 on a nine-count criminal charge.

However, the court in 2018, struck out seven of the nine counts preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC).

The court, in a ruling delivered by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, also discharged and acquitted Aziboala’s wife, Stella, of all allegations levelled against her.

The matter continues on Feb. 6. (NAN)
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