The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, re-arraigned a former governorship candidate in the 2011 Kwara State gubernatorial election, Muhammed Belgore, SAN, and a former Minister for National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, on an amended nine-count charge before Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos.
They are being prosecuted for allegedly receiving the sum of N450m on March 27, 2015 out of the $115,010,000 paid into Fidelity Bank Plc by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezanni Allison-Madueke
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them.
In view of their pleas, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, sought to re-examine a prosecution witness, Usman Zakari, an investigator with the EFCC.
When asked to explain his findings in respect of the count six of the amended charge, Zakari, said: “ During the course of investigation, the first defendant was invited to the EFCC , where he requested for time to enable him bring some documents .
“The next time he reported, he came along with some documents, which contained a list of some individuals and how much he paid them each.
“In the list, the sum of N10, 000,000.00(Ten Million Naira) cash was paid to Dr Emmanuel Onchay, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Independent National Electoral Commission, without going through any financial institution.”
The witness also told the court that the first defendant endorsed the document containing the list of individuals who benefitted from the money.
In his evidence about his findings in respect of counts seven, eight and nine of the amended charge, the witness said the sum of N10,000,000 (Ten Million Naira) was given to a Commissioner of Police, Garba Saliu, in cash.
He quoted the first defendant in a statement marked exhibit 5, as saying, “I delivered, in accordance to the directive of the headquarters, N10, 000,000(Ten Million Naira) to the Commissioner of Police, Garba Saliu”.
Zakari, while giving evidence regarding count eight of the charge, also told the court that Belgore admitted in a statement to have given one Issa Biu, who was a deputy coordinator for Kwara North, the sum of N61,656,000.00 (Sixty- one Million, Six Hundred and Fifty- six Thousand Naira) cash.
The prosecution witness also stated that Belgore admitted in his statement tagged exhibit 5 to have given the duo of Sola Adeoti and Hajiya Farida DanKaka the sum of N 87,962,000.00 ( Eighty- seven Million, Nine Hundred and Sixty- two Thousand Naira) cash.
When asked if the defendants gave any instructions to any financial institution to facilitate the disbursement of all these funds, the witness told the court that though the first defendant had two accounts, one with Standard Chartered Plc and the other with GT Bank Plc, neither showed any transactions as regard counts 6,7,8 and 9 of the amended charge.
In their responses, counsels to the first and second defendants expressed intentions to file a no-case submission.
Justice Aikawa adjourned the case to January 16, 2018 for hearing of no- case submission by the defense.