BDC operator testifies in Ali Bello, Suleiman N10bn money laundering trial
Ali Bello and Dauda Suleiman
Published By: Ayorinde Oluokun
One Rabiu Musa Tafada, a Bureau the Change Operator on Tuesday told the court how Dauda Suleiman who is being tried alongside Ali Bello, the cousin of former governor Yahaya Bello for money laundering to the tune of N10bn usually comes to his office for business transactions to either buy, borrow or sell dollars.
Tafada, who was the prosecuting witness three in the trial of Ali Bello and Dauda Suleiman who are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC told Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja that Suleiman was his regular customer.
Tafada whose office is located at plot 2339, Ladi Kwali Street, Wuse zone 4, Abuja operates a Bureau de change business known as “Rabiu Tafada Global Ventures, revealed during his testimony when led by Prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN that he recognized the second defendant because he usually comes to his office or sends someone to do business with him.
He began his testimony by saying that sometime in 2023, the EFCC came to his office and they took some documents which included a hard-copy notebook and an exercise book. The items were shown to him and he admitted that the items were the documents taken by the Commission.
In view of his submission, Oyedepo sought the permission of the court to tender the items as evidence but the defence objected to its admissibility. Defence counsel, Nureini Jimoh, SAN, noticed the presence of some loose sheets among the items presented by the witness, asking the court for time to look into the items.
However, Justice Omotosho in his ruling, struck out the objection of the defence stating that parties can only make observations and reservations but cannot stop the admissibility of documents urging them to tender any objection in their written addresses.
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The items were admitted in evidence as Exhibit f & g.
Oyedepo, in his further cross-examination, led the witness to examine the contents of the exhibits shown to him. Tafada revealed that every name in the record book either came to change money or needed cash which was normally effected through a transfer to his account number. He told the court that, although he was not the one who recorded the transaction in the exhibits as he could not write, his boys in his office recorded on his behalf.
“I know the face of the second defendant. He is Dawud, because he comes to either sell, buy or borrow money from me. On June 10, 2022, I directed one of my boys to record Sunny Benghazi in the book. I am familiar with the name and the transaction was Fifteen Million Naira (N15m), but I cannot remember what happened that day, maybe he came to change dollar to naira or naira to dollar. Also on 17 June 2022, the second defendant brought a paper that I should give Bashir Falala Fifty Nine Million (59m) and Forty Million (40m) and I gave him the money. Also sometimes he will send his driver and sometimes he comes himself” he said.
Earlier, the prosecution called the attention of the court to an amended charge filed before the court which had been served to the parties involved, in the same vein the defense equally drew the attention of the court to a counter-affidavit they filed.
Justice Omotosho, after listening to the testimony of PW3, adjourned the matter to February 13, 2024, for continuation of trial.