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How Mrs Alison-Madueke Shared N450m to Belgore, Others – Witness


Another damning revelation came to light Monday of how an erstwhile Minister of Petroleum under President Goodluck Jonathan’s government, Diezani Alison-Madueke fleeced the country of million of dollars as an official of Fidelity Bank narrated before a Federal High Court in Lagos how she distributed the sum of $115,010,000 to individuals in the build up to the 2015 general elections
Timothy Olaobaju, an official of Fidelity Bank said after the money was lodged with the bank she subsequent gave instruction to change it into naira and distribute it among individuals in the 36 states of the federation.
Among the beneficiaries, Olaobaju said, were a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dele Belgore; and a former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, who both received N450m.
Olaobaju disclosed this when he appeared as a prosecution witness before Justice Rilwan Aikawa of Federal High Court in Lagos where Belgore and Sulaiman are being tried for alleged money laundering involving N450m.
Led in evidence by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, the witness narrated, “Sometime in April 2014, our MD, Mr Nnamdi Okonkwo, gave a directive that certain companies and individuals would pay into an account with our bank some amounts of money. The purpose of the payment was not disclosed.
“Over the period, thereafter, some amounts were paid into the account. The funds were deposited in dollar. The total sum was $115,010,000.
“On the 27th of March, 2015, there was an instruction from the former Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, through our MD, that the fund in the account should be converted to naira and paid to certain individuals of which the list of beneficiaries was sent to our MD and the amount to be paid to them in naira.
“The funds were paid according to Alison-Madueke’s instructions.
“On the list sent to our branch, the names of the defendants (Belgore and Sulaiman) were on that list because the money was paid in about 36 states of the federation.
“The defendants are not customers of our bank.
“The instruction was that the sum of N450m should be paid to Mr Dele Belgore (SAN) and Prof. Abubakar Suleiman.
“They both received the money and they filled the Receipt of Payment as evidence of receipt of the money and acknowledgement of same.”
The EFCC charged Belgore and Sulaiman with five counts.
Charged along with the SAN and is Diezani, who is said to “still be at large.”
The EFCC had earlier arraigned Belgore and Sulaiman on February 8, 2017, but they were re-arraigned on Monday on an amended charge which included the name of Diezani.
Upon their re-arraignment on Monday, Belgore and Sulaiman pleaded not guilty to the five charges just as they had earlier done.
For the cross-examination of the witness, Belgore’s lawyer, Chief Ebun Shofunde (SAN), asked for an adjournment, as he said most of what the witness said on Monday were not in the proof of evidence front-loaded and served on the defence counsel.
Sulaiman’s lawyer, Mr Olatunji Ayanlaja (SAN), aligned himself with Shofunde.
The prosecutor said he would grudgingly concede to an adjournment till Tuesday in view of his respect for the defence counsel.
Justice Aikawa, consequently, adjourned the matter till Tuesday, March 14 for further proceedings.
Sulaiman, a professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Abuja, and Belgore, a former governorship aspirant in Kwara State, were accused of conspiring between themselves to commit the offence on March 27, 2015.
The duo were accused of making a cash transaction of N450m on March 27, 2015, without going through any financial institution.
The EFCC claimed that the defendants paid N50m to one Sheriff Shagaya.
The EFCC said the cash sum was above the lawful threshold permitted by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.
The EFCC claimed that the defendants “ought to have reasonably known that the N450m formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act.”
Belogore and Sulaiman were accused of violating sections 1(a), 16(d), 15(2)(d) and18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.
The prosecution said they are liable to be punished under sections 15(3)(4), and 16(2)(b) of the same Act.

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