- The EFCC said it has uncovered how a former minister's wife, Halima Turaki, was paid N75 million from funds diverted from her husband's ministry
- Halima Turaki is the wife of Tanimu Turaki, a minister under the Jonathan government
- However, an operative of the EFCC told the court Mrs Turaki has refunded the money to the anti-graft agency
Halima Turaki, the wife of a former minister, Tanimu Turaki, has been accused of being paid N75 million from funds meant for a sensitisation project in her husband's ministry.
Premium Times reports that an operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) made the allegation before the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday, January 27.
Legit.ng gathers that the EFCC operative, Bello Hamma-Adama, gave the testimony in Turaki’s trial on money laundering charges.
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According to Hamma-Adama, the former minister's wife never executed any contract for the ministry.
Turaki (SAN) was a former minister of special duties and inter-governmental affairs. He was later given additional roles as the supervising minister of labour, during the President Goodluck Jonathan administration.
In 2020, the EFCC preferred 16 counts of money laundering against him and his former special assistant, Sampson Okpetu, and two other companies.
They were accused of using different companies to divert about N854 million between 2013 and 2015.
The defendants, however, denied the charges.
How the funds were allegedly diverted
Hamma-Adama told the court that the defendants diverted the sum of N359 million earmarked for a sensitisation project.
According to him, the fund was disbursed in tranches into private bank accounts including the ones operated by Turaki’s wife and brother.
He said the former minister’s wife and one of his brothers, Abdullahi Maigwandu, initially received N45 million each.
The witness added that Mrs Turaki later received additional N30 million through a chain of bank transfers.
The EFCC operative said Mrs Turaki, on being questioned, admitted that the transaction was done at her instance.
“She said she was not a contractor with the Ministry of Special Duties. She said she did not carry out any sensitisation exercise for the ministry.”
N75 million refunded
Hamma-Adama said Mrs Turaki, through her lawyer, Abdulaziz Ibrahim, subsequently refunded N75 million to the EFCC.
The presiding judge, Inyang Ekwo, adjourned till Tuesday, February 9 and Wednesday, February 10.
In other news, a Federal High Court in Lagos has dismissed the $2 million money laundering charge filed by against Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie, a lawyer to Nigeria's former vice president, Atiku Abubakar.
Recall that Giwa-Osagie was dragged to the court by the anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The court presided by Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke held, among others, that the EFCC failed to establish that the money said to have been delivered to former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2019 was illegal.