Thursday, June 1, 2017 8:35 am
By Akin Kuponiyi
An Operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Usman Zakari, yesterday gave graphic details of how the former Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Madueke, laundered $115 million, through some oil companies and two individuals.
Zakari, the EFCC second witness in the on going trial of former People’s Democratic Party (PDP), governorship candidate in Kwara State, Mr. Mohammed Dele Belgore, and former Minister for National Planning, Dr. Abubakar Sulaiman, who are standing trial in the alleged N450 million fraud.
Belgore and Sulaiman are being tried before Justice Rilwan Aikawa led-court on an amended five counts, wherein the name of the former Petroleum Minister was clearly mentioned.
According to the amended charge, on or about March 27, 2015, Alison-Madueke was accused of conspiring with Belgore and Sulaiman to directly take possession of the sum of N450 million, which they reasonably ought to have known to be a part of proceeds of unlawful act.
The two defendants were equally said to have taken the said funds in cash, which exceeded the amount authorized by law, without going through any financial institution.
They were also accused of paying a sum to the tune of N50 million to one Sheriff Shagaya, without going through financial institutions.
The alleged offence according to the EFCC are contrary to sections 18 (a)15 (2) (d), 1 (a), 16 (d) and punishable under sections 15 (3) and 4, 16 (2) (b), and 16 (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.
At the resumed trial of the two defendants the witness while being led-in-evidence by the prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, said the former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke, used some oil companies namely: Auctus Integrated Investiment Limited, Nothernbelt Oil and Gas Limited and two individuals, Leon Laitan Adesanya and an Aides to the former Minister, to launder $115 million USD.
Zakari said by the authority of the former Petroleum Minister, the companies laundered $17.884 million, $16 million, $9.5 million USD, while Adesanya, an aide to the former Minister laundered $1.150 million and $25.776 million USD respectively.
The EFCC witness told the court that the said monies were taken to the bank in suit cases.
The witness also told the court how the former Minister had a meeting with the Managing Director of a Bank on how the money should be change to Naira, and distributed to the 36 States of the country and the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), during 2015 General election.
The witness also identified some of the documents which imcludes: email correspondence between the former Petroleum Minister and the Bank’s managing director, the documents were signed by the two defendants while receiving the sum of N450 million.
However the matter was brought to a halt at the instance of the prosecutor, Mr. Oyedepo, who asked the court for adjournment, on the ground that he needed to meet a witness who will be testify in another Criminal matter at a Lagos High Court tomorrow .
Consequently, the presiding judge, Justice Aikawa adjourned the matter till June 8, for continuation of trial of the defendants.