A prosecution witness, Usman Zakari, in the ongoing trial of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and iformer Kwara State Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate, Dele Belgore, Thursday, told a Federal High Court in Lagos how several individuals and security officers shared in an alleged bribe of $115m paid by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alleged that the money was to compromise the 2015 general election.
The anti-graft Commission said iin two documents it tendered before the court that persons benefited from N450m and N155. 2m out of the $115m (about N36 billion) Diezani cash.
The disbursements, which the EFCC claimed were bribes, were contained in a document titled, “Security and Transportation per State”, and another one titled, “Kwara State”.
According to the first document, the Resident Assistant Inspector-General of Police (IGP) in Kwara State at the time got N1m cash, the Commissioner of Police (COP) in Kwara State at the time received N10m cash, while the Deputy COP in charge of Operations got N2 million cash.
Also, the Assistant Commissioners of Police in charge of operations and administration in Kwara State, received N1m cash each.
The document also showed that the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Kwara State for the 2015 general elections got N10m cash, while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Administrative Secretary in Kwara State at the time received N5m cash.
According to the document, INEC’s Head of Department, Operations and “his boys” were given N5m, while “other officers” received and shared N2m among themselves.
Also listed as beneficiaries of the alleged bribe in Kwara State were the “OC Mopol” and “his men”, who got N7m, “2iC Mopol” and men in the state, who got N10m; the Director of the State Security Service (SSS) and his men, who got N2.5m.
The military in Kwara State was bribed with N50m, according to the document, while other security agencies including the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) got N20m..
An EFCC investigator Usman Zakari, who brought the document, told the court that it was recovered from Belgore.
Belgore is accused of collecting N450m from Diezani and distributing same to beneficiaries in Kwara State.
The EFCC said he handled the cash without going through any financial institution, contrary to sections 1(a), 16(d), 15(2)(d) and18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.
According to the commission, the offence is punishable under sections 15(3)(4), and 16(2)(b) of the same Act.
Standing trial along with Belgore for the offence is a former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Suleiman.
The SAN and the don were arraigned on charges of money laundering on February 8, 2017 but they pleaded not guilty.
Zakari is the second witness to be called by the EFCC in its efforts to prove its case.
Testifying before Justice Aikawa on Thursday, the witness explained that Belgore volunteered the list to the EFCC when he was invited and interrogated by the anti-graft agency.
The investigator pointed out Belgore’s endorsement on the document, stating: “document supplied by me, Mohammed Dele Belgore (SAN).”
The second document the EFCC said it recovered from Belgore, also showed showed beneficiaries of a sum of N155, 220,000 and the breakdown of what they got.
Among them were 15 electoral officers who each received, 250,000; 15 supervisors, who got N100, 000 each; state Returning Officers who got N1m, among others.
The two documents were tendered by the EFCC prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, and admitted in evidence as Exhibit 7 and 7A, against Belgore and Suleiman, as their lawyers, Mr. Ebun Shofunde (SAN) and Mr. Olatunji Ayanlaja (SAN), raised no objection.
In his evidence, Zakari told the court that the EFCC’s findings showed that the money was disbursed in cash to the beneficiaries.
Meanwhile, Belgore brought an application seeking the dismissal of the charges against him on the grounds that the EFCC failed to attach an affidavit showing that it had concluded investigation in the case before bringing the case to court.
Responding, the EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, argued that the current law governing criminal cases in the country was the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.
He argued that the ACJA did not list filling of the said affidavit as one of the conditions that must be fulfilled before a criminal charge could be filed in court, stressing that the provisions of the ACJA were superior to that of the Federal High Court Practice Direction
The court adjourned till July 7 for ruling.