NIS Fraud Trial: What we benefitted from N675m Immigration applicants’ money—Witness

Patrick Abba Moro

Two prosecution witnesses on Wednesday gave a Federal High Court in Abuja, a graphic detail of how the sum of  N675,675,000 realised from 675,675 applicants who applied for job placements at Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS) during the ill-fated recruitment in 2014, was shared.

The witnesses— a former Head of Finance of Payforme Services Nigeria Limited, Mr. Augustine Ugorji, and an employee of Keystone Bank, Mrs. Bilikisu Mohammed, spoke on the issue on Wednesday when the mounted the witness box as the fifth and sixth prosecution witnesses, respectively.

They were brought by the EFCC to testify in the on-going trial of a former Minister of Interior, Abba Moro,  and others on charges of recruitment fraud relating to the NIS.

Bar and Bench Watch reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had slammed an 11-count charge against Moro, a former Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs. Anastasia Daniel-Nwobia and a deputy director in the ministry, Mr. Femi Alayebami.

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The other defendant was Drexel Tech. Nigeria Limited, a firm that carried out the NIS recruitment exercise on behalf of the ministry.

Giving details on the sharing of the money realised from the exercise, Ugorji narrated how  Payforme, an e-commerce firm licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, was engaged by Drexel to provide the online platform for the collection of application fees from the job seekers.

Ugorji, who said he worked for Payforme from 2010 to 2016, said, “Drexel had a contract with Ministry of Interior for job recruitment.

“Provision of payment site or payment platform to receive the payment from applicants was sub-let to payforme.

He listed the banks engaged by Payforme to be Union Bank, United Bank of Africa, Diamond Bank, Zenith Bank, Sterling Bank, Ecobank, and Enterprise Bank.

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He said Interswitch was engaged to provide card as means of payment by interested applicants.

He said from the N1,000 paid by each applicant, Payforme was paid N150 out of which N70 went to the receiving bank.

He said, “The agreement between Drexel and Ministry of Interior was for each applicant to pay N1,000 and Drexel agreed to pay Payforme N150 from the N1,000.

“From the N150, Payforme was paid N80 and N70 to the banks.

“The balance of N850 went to Drexel

“The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System where banks do their clearing was paid by Payforme in line with an agreement.

“We had 675,675 that made payment through our platform.”

He said after the banks deducted their N70 commission from the N1,000 paid by each of the applicants, the following amounts were remitted by each of the banks: “Zenith Bank:

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22,425,396; “Sterling Bank: 38,013,420; “UBA N190,187,416; Diamond Bank N114,616,260; Union Bank,N133,862,010; Fidelity Bank, N58,175, 617; Enterprise Bank N12, 527,100 and Ecobank N48,456,817.”

He said Interswitch realised N10,879,115 from the applicants who paid through cards.

He said at the end of the day, “We remitted 574,327,500 through Keystone Bank” to Drexel.

The judge then adjourned until November 7 and 8 for further trial.