A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday, heard that two employees of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Christian Nwosu and Yisa Adegoyin, allegedly received N264 million from a former petroleum minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke. A prosecution witness, Timothy Olaobaju, said the money was paid to Messrs. Nwosu and Adedoyin in cash.
Mr. Olaobaju said this while testifying at the resumed trial of the accused persons, facing charges of corruption and undue enrichment.
They are charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on allegations of receiving bribe from the former minister.
Also charged is Tijani Bashir.
Mr. Adedoyin had pleaded guilty to the charge and was convicted following a plea bargain.
Led in evidence on Wednesday by the prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, the witness, a bank operative, said he paid Messrs. Nwosu and Adedoyin N264 million, on the instructions of Mrs. Alison-Madueke.
“Sometime in 2015, there was a meeting between our Managing Director and former Petroleum Minister during which she explained that some companies and individuals would come to the bank to pay some money into some accounts
“The companies were Nothern Belt Ltd, Actus Integrated Ltd, Midwestern Company and one Mr Leno Laitan.
“In addition, she said that certain individuals would bring some cash to be kept for her.
“A total sum of 89 million dollars was paid into the accounts; cash sums of 25 million dollars was brought, totalling 114 million dollars and the money was kept in the bank pending her instruction as agreed.
“On March 26, 2014, we got instruction that the money be converted to naira.
“After it was converted, it amounted to about N23 billion.
‘’There was a list of beneficiaries that was sent, to be paid across the 36 states of the federation, including Kwara and I handled the transactions in my branch,” the witness said.
He said the accused came to his office to collect the cash payment, and that he only acted on instruction.
“There was an instruction that Nwosu and Adedoyin be paid N264 million and it was on the instructions of Alison-Madueke that they were paid,” he said
According to the witness, the accused signed a receipt of payment for the money they collected.
The witness said after the accused were paid, they left with the cash and did not pay it into any account in his branch.
Under cross examination by defence counsels, Obinna Okereke and Nelson Imoh, the witness said he did not know the purpose of the payment.
“The only instruction we had is that they should bring means of identification and should be paid; we did not know the purpose of the payment,” he said.
The case was adjourned until June 29 for continuation of trial.
The prosecution had alleged that the accused persons committed the offence on March 27, 2015 by accepting bribe from the ex-Minister.
They were alleged to have conspired to take possession of the sum of about N264 million which sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of gratification.
The accused were also said to have made cash payments of the sum of about N235 million, which sum exceeded the amount authorized by Law, without going through a financial institution.
EFCC alleged that Mr. Bashir also made a cash payment of about N70.1 million to Mr. Adedoyin without going through a financial institution, in violation of the law that limits amounts sent outside of bank.
The prosecution also alleged that Mr. Bashir also directly took possession of the sum of about N165 million which sum he ought reasonably to have known formed part of an unlawful act of gratification.
In count seven, Mr. Nwosu was alleged to have directly used N30 million which he ought to have known formed part of an unlawful act of gratification.
The offences were said to have contravened the provisions of sections 15 (3), 16 (2) and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Amendment Act, 2012. (NAN)