The corruption trial of a former Chairman of the then Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, continued before the Federal High Court in Abuja, on Thursday, with another of his siblings, Khalid Aliyu, testifying against him.
Khalid is the third Maina’s sibling to testify against him in his ongoing N2bn fraud trial.
Maina is standing trial alongside a firm, Common Input Property and Investment Ltd.
Two of his siblings, Mrs Fatima Abdullahi and Nafisat Aliyu, had earlier testified against him.
While Fatima testified on December 12, 2019, Nafisat testified on Wednesday.
Nasfisat, who appeared as the fourth prosecution witness, narrated to the court on Wednesday how it took her about three to four years to realise that her name was used to open a bank account that she knew nothing about.
Khalid, a former banker, who testified as the fifth prosecution witness on Thursday, told Justice Okon Abang that he was the one who assisted Maina to open an account in their sister’s name without her knowledge.
When the case was called and Khalid was beckoned to enter the courtroom, he walked past Maina but ensured that he did not have an eye contact with him.
Khalid, who is Maina’s lookalike, fixed his gaze on the judge, after sitting in the witness box to give his testimony.
Maina watched and listened to his brother, testifying against him, from where he said beside the dock.
As Khalid testified against him, sometimes he smiled and at a point, he scribbled a quick note and passed to his lawyer.
At the end of the proceedings, Khalid did not leave the courtroom until his brother, who has been in detention since his arrest in October 2019, was led away by prison officers.
In his testimony, Khalid told Justice Abang that he joined Fidelity Bank in 2008 and worked as an executive assistant, managing high net worth customers, until he left the bank in January 2012 and joined the civil service.
Led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mohammed Abubakar, Khalid narrated how he and one of his colleagues at the bank, Oluwatoyin Meseke, were contacted by Maina to open an account in the name of their sister, Nafisat, without her knowledge.
He said, “At some points, my brother, Abdulrasheed Maina, requested my colleague, Toyin Meseke, and me to open a savings account for my sister, Nafisat Aliyu, although she was not aware of the transaction.
“We proceeded to her house at Wuse 2, Abuja, at the time, to collect the utility bill as part of the requirements to open an account.
“Toyin collected her utility bill but she was not aware that it was for account opening.
“Later, Toyin Meseke collected the copy of her passport from my brother, Abdulrasheed Maina, to complete the account opening.
“She was supposed to accompany our mother to the hospital and her passport and my mother’s were with my brother for visa processing.
“Oluwatoyin Meseke completed the account opening form and the account began transactions.
“Later on, my sister, Nafisat Aliyu, complained to me that she was receiving debit alerts on her phone.
“I asked to see the alerts. She showed me and I advised her to meet my colleague, Toyin Meseke, in order to have her details excluded from the account.
“Basically, Toyin Meseke was the one handling and managing the account. So, he is aware of most of inflows and outflows on the account.
“Although, the account, after being opened by Toyin, was placed under my balance sheet in order to boost my balance.”
Khalid said he also assisted Maina to open an account in the name of one Cluster Logistics.
He explained that the firm, Cluster Logistics, was jointly owned by him and his friend, Sani Musa, but he allowed Maina to use the firm’s account for an “official exercise.”
He also spoke about a third account opened in the name of one Dr Faisal Abdullahi.
He said, “The first defendant also requested an account for Dr Faisal Abdullahi to be opened as part of investment for his farm proceeds.”
He said while the account opening documents bore Abdullahi’s name and a driving licence bearing the same name was supplied for the account opening process, “the signatory to the account is the first defendant (Maina).”
Under cross-examination by Maina’s lawyer, Mr Afam Osigwe, Khalid described himself as an ethical banker, saying he never engaged in money laundering while working in the bank.
Justice Abang adjourned till Friday (today) for continuation of cross-examination.