Written by on March 10, 2022

The former head of service of the federation Steven Oronsaye on Thursday at the federal high court in Abuja denied any involvement in the operation of 66 bank accounts said to have been operated to siphon pension funds.

Oronsaye who opened his defense in the money laundering charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, told the court that as the head of Service of the Federation, he knew nothing about the alleged 66 accounts, as they are not part of his functions.

Lead in defense by his lead counsel Joe Agi SAN, the former head of service alleged that the investigation carried out by EFCC in a petition against him was poor, adding that if a   thorough investigation had been conducted, charges against him would have been unnecessary.

Oronsaye told justice Inyang Ekwo that he ran into trouble with EFCC when he appeared before the National Assembly in defense of an executive bill on EFCC at a point when the commission objected to the bill.

He claimed that after defending the bill, he was invited by EFCC and that on December 7, 2013, he honored the antigraft agency invitation during which he was confronted with all manner of allegations.

The former head of service explained that from the day he was invited to the anti-graft agency’s office to date, the EFCC has refused to show him a copy of the alleged petition against him.

Oronsaye recalled that he had headed five special presidential committees and that throughout his tenure, he never signed any payment mandate or have any dealings with the Barreau of Public Procurement.

The former head of service who punctured charges against him one after the other said contrary to EFCC’s allegation against him, it’s only the staff of the accountant general of the federation that have the 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 contracts sum, Oronsaye explained that there was a presidential approval adding that EFCC’s investigation into the issue was not thorough, noting that if a proper investigation had been conducted it would have revealed a presidential approval.

During his defense, several documents including circular on contracts threshold signed by Ahmed Yayale, EFCC’s interim investigation report on alleged conspiracy, and diversion of public funds, the proceedings and judgment of justice Abang in the case of jailed former Pension task force chairman, Abdulrasheed Maina, were tendered by him and admitted as exhibits.

Meanwhile, Justice Ekwo fixed May 24, 25, and 26 for the continuation of defense and for EFCC to cross-examine the witness.

Oronsaye is being tried, alongside others, for allegedly using inflated biometrics enrolment contracts, collective allowances, and other schemes to siphon money from accounts in which pensioner’s funds were kept.

Editor: Ena Agbanoma

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