Trial of former Interior Minister, Abba Moro, commenced on Wednesday, before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court Abuja.
Moro and three others are being tried on an 11-count charge of procurement fraud and money laundering.
They are alleged to have defrauded a total of 675,675 Nigerian job seekers who were made to pay N1,000 each as application fee through an e-payment platform for recruitment into the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, on March 17, 2013.
The exercise, which was shoddily handled, led to overcrowding of venues and the death of not less than 20 applicants in various centres across the country.
David Paradang, who was the Comptroller General of the NIS at the time of the recruitment exercise, told the court that he was never aware of the exercise as he was not consulted.
He said he learnt about the recruitment plan from the media.
“As the then Comptroller General of the NIS, I was neither aware of the ‘advertisement’ nor the recruitment exercise. So, it came to me as a surprise”, Paradang said.
The former Comptroller of Immigration stated that he wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Board when he first saw the advertisement in the Daily Trust of September 9, 2013, expressing his dismay over the advertisement placed for employment.
The letter was tendered as evidence before the court but the defence counsel objected to it being accepted.
Paul Erokoro, SAN, counsel to Moro, argued that though the document was certified, there was no evidence to show that the certification fee was paid as it carries no endorsement certificate.
A debate ensued as to whether the letter could be accepted as evidence and thereafter, Justice Dimgba adjourned the trial to June 10, 2016 for continuation of trial.