The allegations of corruption against the former minister of petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison –Madueke have become obvious that such acts took place. Further facts emerged when the Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday, June 28 heard that Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo, actually held a meeting with the former minister on how to disburse the $115million warehoused in the bank to be paid out to some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the purposes of the 2015 election.
Timothy Olaobaju, Fidelity Bank’s Head of Operations who had his day in the court and served as prosecution witness, testified before Justice Mohammed Idris that two INEC employees, Christian Nwosu and Yisa Adedoyin, received N264million from Mrs. Alison-Madueke to rig the 2015 general election results.
Olaobaju made the revelation while being led in evidence by prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo in the trial of Nwosu and Tijani Inda Bashir in the matter involving the Mrs. Alison-Madueke, Okonkwo and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
According to the witness, the money was paid to Nwosu and Adedoyin in cash.
The defendants were arraigned by the EFCC for allegedly receiving bribe from the former minister.
When the charge was first read to them, Adedoyin had pleaded guilty to the charge and was convicted following a plea bargain arrangement.
Olaobaju, who was head of operations of Fidelity Bank in Illorin, the Kwara State capital, told the court that he paid Nwosu and Adedoyin the money in cash according to instructions of Mrs. Alison-Madueke.
Said Olaobaju: “I was the Head of Operations for Ilorin Branch. I had cause to meet Nwosu and Adedoyin. 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 Northern Belt Ltd, Actus Integrated Ltd, Midwestern Company and one Mr. Leno Laitan. In addition, she said certain individuals would bring some cash to be kept for her.
“A total sum of $89million was paid into the accounts. Cash sums of $25million was brought, totaling $114million. 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 was about N23billion. There was a list of beneficiaries that was sent, to be paid across the 36 states of the federation, including Kwara. I handled the transactions in my branch.”
Olaobaju further narrated that the defendants were in his office to collect the cash payment, adding that he only acted on instruction.
“There was an instruction that Nwosu and Adedoyin be paid N264, 880,000. The instruction came from the head office based on instruction from Mrs. Alison-Madueke and they were paid. They signed a receipt of payment for the money they collected.
“After the defendants were paid, they left with the cash and did not pay it into any account.”
Led in evidence on by EFCC prosecutor, RotimiOyedepo, the witness told the court that sometime in 2016, the commission received intelligence that Mrs. Allison-Madueke, was gratified to the tune of $115 million during the 2015 elections.
The witness testified that following the intelligence, the commission swung into investigations, and in the course of investigations it stumbled on receipts of payment of money.
According to the witness, it was discovered that the first accused (Nwosu) who was the Administrator of INEC in Kwara State at the time, signed for a payment of N264.8million, money domiciled at Fidelity, adding also that the receipt had the signature of Adedoyin.
Zakari said that it was based on the receipts of payment, that invitations were sent to the accused to appear before the commission.
In count seven, Nwosu was alleged to have directly used the sum of N30 million which he ought to have known formed part of an unlawful act of gratification.
The offences are said to have contravened the provisions of sections 15 (3), 16 (2) and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Amendment Act, 2012.
Based on this case among others, the presidency said that it will not interfere or give any special treatment in the various ongoing anti-graft investigations and court cases against officials of the Jonathan administration and any other person suspected of or found guilty of indulging in corruption.