Wednesday, 5 April 2017

EFCC arraigns Alison-Madueke, INEC officials

The Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) yesterday arraigned three Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials for allegedly receiving bribes from former Petroleum Minister Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke to compromise results of the 2015 general election. Christian Nwosu, Yisa Adedoyin and Tijani Bashir were arraigned before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos. They allegedly collected N264.88 million on March 27, 2015 from the minister ahead of the election. Nwosu pleaded guilty to the charge and was convicted for receiving N30 million bribe. Mrs. Alison-Madueke was named in the charge. Prosecution counsel Rotimi Oyedepo said Nwosu opted for a plea bargain. The EFCC lawyer said Nwosu refunded N5 million and surrendered the title document of a landed property he bought for N25 million in Delta State. According to him, EFCC acted on an intelligence report that Mrs. Alison-Madueke stashed $115 million in a bank, with an oral instruction that the money should be converted to naira. The former minister was said to have directed that part of the money should be given to certain INEC officials. Oyedepo said N30 million was traced to Nwosu, who hid it in a Hilux van in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, following which the suspect was invited to the EFCC, where he confessed. He tendered Nwosu’s confessional statement and a document with which Nwosu acknowledged receipt of the N30 million. Oyedepo urged the judge to convict Nwosu as charged in view of his plea and the evidence adduced. Justice Idris held: “In line with the plea of the defendant coupled with the facts and the exhibits tendered by the prosecutor, the defendant is hereby convicted as charged.” Nwosu’s lawyer Mrs. Adaku Mbama urged the judge to temper justice with mercy. The other defendants, however, pleaded not guilty. EFCC alleged that Nwosu, Adedoyin and Bashir conspired with Mrs. Alison-Madueke to take possession of N264.88 million. The commission said they “ought to have reasonably known (that the money) formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: gratification.” They were also accused of making cash payment of N234.88 million on March 27, 2015 without going through any financial institution. Adedoyin was said to have received N70.05 million from Bashir on March 27, 2015; Bashir took possession of N64.88 million, while Nwosu received and used N30 million the same day, EFCC alleged. Adedoyin and Bashir were granted bail at N50 million each and two sureties. Justice Idris directed the defendants to deposit their international passports with the court’s registrar. “They are to be remanded in prison until they meet their bail terms,” the judge added. Justice Idris adjourned till tomorrow when he will sentence Nwosu.

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