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Former GM Tells Court How Diezani Doled Out $70m NNPC Fund For 2015 Elections

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A former Group General Manager of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC on Thursday told a Federal High Court in Lagos how he delivered 12 padlocked bags containing $70 million to an Abuja-based banker on the instructions of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The top official of the cooperation , who is testifying before the court as an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) witness in the going trial of a former Executive Director, First Bank Plc, Dauda Lawal, further claimed that he delivered money to the Abuja banker, one Charles, in the front of Dume Supermarket in Abuja.

Lawal was docked before the court by the anti-graft agency on money laundering charges.

The former bank boss was specifically accused of handling $25 million out of a total of $153 million, which Mrs. Alison-Madueke allegedly doled out to influence the 2015 general elections.

The ex-NNPC GM while being led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, said he personally delivered the cash-loaded bags to the Abuja banker, one Charles, in the front of Dume Supermarket in Abuja.

The official also alleged, “My lord, as I can remember, shortly before the 2015 elections, it was the norm for heads of subsidiaries (of the NNPC) to be invited for an undisclosed briefing of activities of their departments to the minister.

‘’ At the end of such briefings, the then Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs  Diezani Alison-Madueke, gave me a GSM number in respect of one Charles, whom I had never met, with a clear instruction that I should convey 12 padlocked bags to the said Charles.

“My Lord, the source, the content and the purpose of the bags were not disclosed to me. Thereafter, I called the said Charles, who equally confirmed to me that he had been briefed about the message. I delivered the bags to Charles.

“Much later, My Lord, the EFCC invited me for interrogation on the issue and I made a statement to that effect. Charles equally confirmed at the EFCC that he received the 12 padlocked bags and the bags contained the sum of $70m.”

When asked by the prosecutor to describe the kind of relationship he and others had with Diezani, the witness said, “We had a command-and-obey relationship and also took an oath of office to obey directives and authority.”

Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Patrick Ikwueto (SAN), the witness said he had never met Lawal before.

The trial judge, Justice Muslim Hassan adjourned till 21, 22 and 23 of July for continuation of trial.

 

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