An operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Usman Zakari, on Wednesday gave details of how the former Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, laundered $115 million, through three oil companies and two individuals.
Zakari is the EFCC second witness in the ongoing trial of former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Kwara State, Mohammed Dele Belgore and former Minister for National Planning, Abubakar Sulaiman, who are standing trial in the alleged N450 million fraud.
Belgore and Sulaiman are being tried before Justice Rilwan Aikawa on an amended five-count charge.
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 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, Rotimi Oyedepo, said the former Petroleum Minister used three oil companies namely: Auctus Integrated Investiment Limited, Nothernbelt Oil and Gas Limited, and Midwestern Oil and Gas Limited, and two individuals, Leon Laitan Adesanya and an aide of the former minister, to launder $115 million.
Zakari said by the authority of the former petroleum minister, the three companies laundered $17.884 million USD, $16 million USD, $9.5 million USD, while Adesanya laundered $1.150 million and $25.776 million.
The witness told the court that the money was taken to the bank in suite 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 changed 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.
However, the matter was brought to a halt at the instance of the prosecutor, Oyedepo, who asked the court for adjournment, on the ground that he needed to meet a witness who would be testifying in another criminal matter at a Lagos High Court on Thursday.
The presiding judge, Justice Aikawa adjourned the matter till June 8, for continuation of trial.