The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has referred to the Former Petroleum Minister Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke in a new charge as being “at large”.
The commission amended the charge filed against a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Mr Dele Belgore and former National Planning Minister Prof Abubakar Suleiman.
Belgore and Suleiman, who were arraigned on February 8, are on trial before Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court in Lagos.
In the nine-count amended charge, EFCC accused Alison-Madueke, Belgore and Suleiman of making cash payment of N10million to Kwara State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Dr Emmanuel Onucheyo.
The commission said they also paid N10million to a Commissioner of Police Garba Saliu.
According to EFCC, the defendants allegedly made the payments on March 27, 2015 without going through a financial institution.
The sums, the commission said, exceeded the amount authorised by law and violated Sections 1(a) and 16 (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act of 2012 and punishable under Section 16 (2) (b).
The defendants were accused of making cash payment of N61,656,000 to Isa Biu on the same day, exceeding what is authorised by law.
EFCC said they also paid N87,962,000 to Sola Adeoti and Hajiya Dankaka on the same day “without going through a financial institution.”
The prosecution, as in the previous charge, accused the defendants of violating the Money Laundering Act by dealing in excess cash without going through a financial institution.
EFCC said they “directly took possession of the sum N450million,” adding that they “reasonably ought to have known [that the money] forms part of the proceeds of unlawful act.”
It also accused them of “indirectly” using the sum of N450million on March 27, 2015, and of making cash payment of N450million, which exceeded the amount authorised by law.
According to the commission, Mrs Alison-Madueke, Belgore and Sulieman, on the same day, made cash payment of N50million to one Sheriff Shagaya, an amount in excess of what the law allowed.
Count one of the charge reads: “That you Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke (still at large), Muhammad Dele Belgore and Prof Abubakar Sulaiman on or about the 27th day of March in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to directly take possession of the sum of N450,000,000, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of unlawful act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15 (3) and (4) of the same Act.”
The amended charge is dated November 22 and signed by Rotimi Oyedepo. Belgore and Suleiman are expected to be re-arraigned tomorrow.