Ex-Head of Service distances self from alleged 66 illegal accounts


By Aluta News

Mar. 10, 2022


Steven Oronsaye, former Head of Service of the Federation, on Thursday, told the Federal High Court, Abuja, that he had no hand in the operation of 66 bank accounts said to have been operated to siphon pension funds.
Oronsaye, said this when he  opened his defense in the money laundering charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC).
He told the court that as a head of service of the federation, he did not know anything about the alleged 66 accounts because they were not part of his functions.
The former head of service said that  he needed not to have know the number of accounts operated by the Federal Government because he was never the Accountant General of the Federation.
Led in evidence by his lead counsel, Mr Joe Agi (SAN), Oronsaye alleged that the investigation carried out by the EFCC in a petition against him was poor and shoddy.
He also held that if a thorough investigation had been conducted, the charges against him would have been unnecessary.
The former head of service explained that as at the time of his defence, the EFCC had never shown him a copy of the alleged petition against him, let alone availing him an opportunity to peruse it.
Oronsaye recalled that he headed five special presidential committees and that throughout his tenure, he never signed any payment mandate or had any dealings with the Bureau of Public Procurement.
“Contrary to EFCC’s allegation against me, only staff of the accountant general of the federation have power to sign payment mandate.”
He denied ever transferring any money from Union Bank to Unity Bank.
On the alleged abuse of the threshold of a contract sum, Oronsaye explained that there was a presidential approval adding that EFCC investigation into the issue was not thorough.
He submitted that if a thorough investigation had been conducted,  it would have revealed the presidential approval.
Oronsaye claimed that he ran into trouble with the EFCC when he appeared before the National Assembly and defended an executive bill on EFCC at the point when the commission itself objected to the bill.
He alleged that on arrival in his office, he was invited by the anti-graft agency and that on Dec. 7, 2013, he honoured the invitation during which he was confronted with several allegations.
In the cause of his testimony, several documents including a circular on contract threshold signed by Yayale Ahmed, EFCC’s interim investigation report on alleged conspiracy and diversion of public funds were tendered  and admitted in evidence as exhibits.
Also tendered were the proceedings and judgment delivered in the case of jailed former Pension Task Force boss Abdulrasheed Maina.
The trial judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo adjourned the matter until  May 24, 25 and 26 for continuation of defence and for EFCC to cross examine the witness.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Rouqquaya Ibrahim, an EFCC witness had  told the court that Maina and Oronsaye, who was head of service between 2009 and 2010, allegedly stole pension funds through more than 60 bank accounts.
She said that part of the EFCC investigation revealed  that  Oronsaye, while he was head of service was operating 66 illegal accounts.