The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICOC) has revealed how Mr. Bature Masari, a former Director General of Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency (SMEDAN) allegedly got involved in a suspected fraud involving some lawmakers.
An officer of the commission, Mr. Taiwo Olorunyomi, on Friday told an FCT High Court, Apo, that Masari gave N50million to some members of the House of Representatives.
The allegation was made while testifying in the ongoing case of contract fraud filed against Masari.
Masari is charged with 27 counts bordering on the fraudulent award of constituency project contracts worth N184.5m.
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.
Olorunyomi reported that, in the course of an investigation, the anti-graft commission requested for the defendant’s bank statements from Guaranty Trust Bank, Diamond Bank, and First Bank.
While investigating the bank statements, Olorunyomi said, the ICPC discovered that some contractors made several payments into the defendant’s account.
He maintained that one of such payments was N50m deposited into the defendant’s Diamond Bank account by one Hamshaki Ventures.
According to him, Hamshaki Ventures was one of the contractors that obtained contracts from Masari during his tenure as SMEDAN DG.
He also alleged that the money was shared to four members of the National Assembly representing Benue State.
Each of the members allegedly collected N9m for contractors to execute their constituency projects. They are; Heman Hembe, Benjamin Aboho, Orker Jev, and Emmanuel Memga.
Going further, Olorunyomi said that the ICPC discovered that the defendant gave another N3m each to Hon. Anthony Madwatte and Hon. Mahmud Wambai of Adamawa State, to give constituency projects out.
He also told the court that when the defendant was queried on the purpose of the payments, Masari responded that the money was payment 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 included the bank statements, Masari’s written statement, and payment 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 to prepare for cross-examination.
Justice Olukayode Adeniyi adjourned the case until June 25 for further hearing.